SOIL CONSERVATION- MEANING, IMPORTANCE,LOSS OF NUTRIENTS AND METHOD OF CONSERVING SOIL-BY INSTRUCTOR EREKATA, O.J.
SOIL CONSERVATION: Conservation can be defined as a wisely planned use of any natural resources e.g. land , water, soil, forest etc in order to avoid exploitation, destruction and neglect. Soil conservation refers to the intelligent use of soil so that enough plant nutrients are available to plants for growth and production at all the time. A farmer should know how to manage his land to ensure that enough nutrients are available to his crops.
IMPORTANCE OF SOIL CONSERVATIO: It has the following importance-
It brings about wise use of natural resources which help to protect the natural environment from being destroyed.
It helps to prevent soil erosion.
It helps to support the growth of valuable crops.
WAYS IN WHICH PLANT NUTRIENTS ARE LOST IN THE SOIL: Plant nutrients are lost in the soil in the following ways:
LEACHING: This is the downward washing away of soil nutrients from the top soil by heavy rainfall beyond the reach of plant roots. This is very common during the raining season where a lot of heavy rainfall are experienced. Leaching can be reduced by planting cover crops, addition of organic matter and producing crop rotation.
SOIL EROSION: Erosion is the wearing away of the top soil by natural agents like water and wind. Soil erosion can be prevented by:
Growing of cover crop;
Making adequate drainage channels;
Avoiding overgrazing by animals which can expose the soil surface;
Avoiding bush burning.
PLANT UPTAKE: When plants are harvested, some nutrients are lost. This is because the growing plant take nutrients from the soil. When this continues for many years, the effect will show through poor growth and poor yield of crops.
BUSH BURNING: Bush burning also expose the soil to erosion. The heat from the burning destroys many nutrients in the soil. it also kill some organisms in the soil.
METHOD OF CONSERVING SOIL: Soil can be conserved in these ways:
Bush burning should be prevented.
Adoption of better farming practices like crop rotation.
Farmers should avoid over-grazing.
Prevention of deforestation or indiscriminate felling of trees.
Avoidance of clean clearing.
Land pollution should be avoided.