Need For Soil Conservation in Forests: A Look at the Different Methods

snerfuStarred Page By snerfu, 16th Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Soil

Forests need good soil to grow. Steps to conserve the soil and develop forests have been always of great importance. Here discuss steps that we use commonly towards these goals.

Soil conservation importance

Forests play an important role in both the economy and in preserving a good green environment. Soil conservation and enhancement is vital for forests to grow at a healthy rate. Among the different methods adopted bunding, control of grazing and strip cropping predominate.

I. Planning for forest development

Removing forests exposes the topsoil to the elements of nature. The binding value of the forests is gone and the slightest force removes several layers of topsoil. Wind and water erosion take place and the soil undergoes leaching. For this reason, forest department officials make plans to plant forests in exposed areas. Similarly, certain crops cause excessive leaching of topsoil. If crops like sorghum, tobacco, cotton, palm oil and rice are cultivated extensively, the soil undergoes depletion after some time.

A) Survey of areas to develop
After extensive studies and comparing values with data available on the Internet, it is possible to come up with a time bound program that produces positive results.
Primarily these areas are open areas where soil erosion is extensive. Land near water bodies need protection from erosion due to water. Proportion of land brought under forests should be at least one- third of the total land area surveyed.
B) Training for personnel
Forest officials impart training to personnel in the proper methods for maintaining forestland. This will include:
a) Proper method of planting new saplings
b) Isolating areas near residences and water bodies
c) Use of modern technology and improved seeds

II. Different methods to adopt

Different areas need different methods of tackling the problem of soil erosion. Forest department officials implement those solutions that are economical and practical. Another factor that will play an important part is the availability of machines and tools.

A) Bunding
a. Contour bunding: Bunds are transverse embankments of soil built on the slope that you need to preserve. This technique suits those soils that are fairly permeable and slopes are not too steep.
b. Contour trenching: Here we make a series of pits across the slope in transverse manner. This helps reduce the amount of surface runoff. The transverse pit will cut off the volume of water before it reaches dangerous proportions.
c. Terracing: Here raising the ground at regular intervals reduces the slope of the forest floor. Thus, the entire slope resembles of a series of steps rather than a continuous slope. There are many forms of terracing used in forests.
i. Ridge terracing: Here they raise narrow ridges along the contours. This helps prevent soil erosion by cutting off the rainwater run off.
ii. Bench terracing: In forests where the slope is comparatively very low you will find extensive use of bench terracing. The construction used resembles broad benches rather than steps. These benches follow the contours of the forest floor.

B) Strip cropping
This method of soil conservation consist of planting crops that cause excessive soil erosion side by side with other crops that prevent erosion. The forest authorities plant these strips according to the prevailing weather conditions. Examples of crops that cause erosion are bajra and maize. Those that prevent erosion are pulse crops and grass.
a. Wind based: In areas where the wind is in excessive amounts, the wind and not the water cause the erosion. Therefore, they plant these strips in a crossway direction from the wind.
b. Contour based: In this, they plant strips of soil erosion causing crops and soil erosion preventing crops across the slope. This prevents runoff and subsequent erosion and helps to increase the infiltration in the soil.
c. Buffering: This practice finds use to control the rate of soil erosion. They leave extensively eroded portions of soil under the grass. This will help to consolidate the soil over time.

C) Controlled grazing
Too much grazing will erode the soil. However, grazing may be necessary to feed the cattle. In this case, they take care to see that they spread out the grazing uniformly and there is no excessive grazing in any one area.

D) Involvement of local people
This is the most important aspect in forest development and soil conservation. The people take care of the forests and only if they do their work properly, the forests will develop. Training is imparted to people who involve in this program. Special tools and equipment is given to help them demarcate and prune overlapping tree branches, replant bare strips and isolate those areas of the forest that are near domestic settlements and water bodies.

Forests are vital for the economy

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Crop, Forest, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion, Strip, Terracing, Water

Meet the author

author avatar snerfu
Bachelor, Christian, 53, settled in Madurai, India, like to watch football and tennis on TV. I also have occasional walks but try to read the Bible daily. For amusement, I read the newspaper.

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author avatar snerfu
16th Jun 2014 (#)

Many thanks for moderating my page Mr Kinsman.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
16th Jun 2014 (#)

Very timely...very outstanding article!!!...thank you snerfu.

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author avatar snerfu
17th Jun 2014 (#)

Many thanks Ms Powers, glad to see you.

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