According to the recent survey done by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the equivalent of a soccer pitch of soil is eroded every five seconds.
This states that the soil this planet is presently on a path that could lead to the degradation of more than 90 per cent of all the Earth’s soils by 2050 which threatens the capacity of future generations to meet even their most basic needs. Looking at this serious concern, The International Union of Soil Sciences in the year 2002 made a resolution to celebrate 5th December as the World Soil Day. The basic objective of this initiative was to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural ecosystem and as a vital contributor to human well -being. There has become a common understanding that without robust soil ecosystems, the world’s food web would be in trouble as ninety-five per cent of foods are generated from soil. Soil also play a crucial role in protecting from climate change as soils are considered the second largest carbon store after the oceans but the increase in soil erosion has decreased the soil’s potential to mitigate and adapt to climate change. So, there is an urgent need to save our soil as every individual can do their bit in order to protect the whole environment.
Therefore, following are the measures that we can take to conserve the soil and protect the soil biodiversity
Afforestation is one of the best ways for soil conservation. Ruthless cutting of trees should be stopped and efforts should be made to plant new trees. Every individual should plant new trees to save and protect the environment from degradation.
- Keep overgrazing in check
Grazing of cattle is quite important but overgrazing should be strictly monitored as it can impact the soil fertility.
- Construction of dams
This is one of the best ways to keep soil erosion in check. The floods from over flowing rivers can erode the most fertile layer of soil. By constructing dams, water speed can be checked and can considerably save the soil from erosion.
- Changing agricultural practices
This is one of the most important measure that we can take in order to protect and save our soil. By bringing change in our existing agricultural practices we can save a lot of our valuable soil.
Following are the ways to implement the same:
- Crop rotation In India, majority of peasants grow a particular crop in the same field year after year which takes away certain elements from the soil making it infertile and exhausted rendering it unsuitable for that crop.
- Using early maturing varieties It is evident that primary budding varieties of crops takes lesser time to mature which puts less pressure on the soil. This ultimately helps in preventing soil erosion and maintains quality of soil.
- Terrace farming and contour bunding It is one of the oldest and effective methods used for soil conservation. This is done across the hills and slopes by cutting them into a number of terraces having horizontal top and steep slopes on the back and front.
- Ploughing the field in right direction
Ploughing the field in the right direction also helps in keeping soil erosion in check. It is advised to plough the land in perpendicular direction to wind direction which reduces wind velocity and protects the top soil from erosion.
- Creating awareness regarding soil conservation
This is one of the most important measure that should be taken by every individual. Civil societies can take steps to raise awareness about the importance of soils, particularly among youth. Policymakers can highlight and emphasize on the importance of soil biodiversity at the national level and promote sustainable soil management policies in a broader resource management agenda.
- Sustainable management of soil
It is quite important to perform sustainable management of soils as it supports agricultural productivity, food security, human health, climate change mitigation and resilience, and a range of ecosystem services.
Over to you
This World Soil Day, let’s together reflect on the importance of healthy soils for our biodiversity and well-being. Let’s also think about the actions that we can take, and work towards ensuring that the prevention and reversal of soil erosion by working to build future of life in harmony with nature.