Every year, 1 percent of topsoil is lost due to agriculture and erosion. Poor farming practices can result in unhealthy soil, which leads to lower crop yields and eventually topsoil that needs to be replaced. Erosion of topsoil occurs when small particles of soil are loosened and carried away by water or wind. Fortunately, there are many steps we can take to conserve our precious topsoil.
Harvesting the same crops consecutively can lead to toxins that build up in the soil and cause an imbalance in the fertility demands of the soil. These damaging effects can be prevented by growing different crops on the soil in different seasons.
Tilling, or plowing the soil, is one way of preparing it for planting. Tilling leads to compacted soil and loss of organic matter that is vital for growth. Simply not tilling the soil prevents this.
Proper Soil Irrigation
If topsoil is left dry at the surface, it becomes susceptible to erosion by wind. Ensuring that the land is properly irrigated at the surface can prevent this.
It is always beneficial to grow crops that are indigenous to your region. In any ecosystem, native crops depend on each other for survival. A healthy ecosystem results in healthy crops, which preserve the quality of the soil.
The roots of trees burrow deep into the ground and provide a strong foundation for topsoil. As the trees grow tall, they also create a canopy and a natural wind barrier.
Build a Wind Barrier
Although trees provide a partial wind barrier, sometimes they are not enough. Building a barrier or fence at the edge of a farm can stop a large portion of erosion due to wind.
Use Organic Mulch
Using organic mulch for crops that are indigenous to the region will maintain the correct soil temperature and prevent erosion.
There are many types of vegetation that can be planted to help protect your soil, such as clover. Vegetation covers the ground, restricts weed growth and reduces runoff.
Test the Soil's pH Level
Natural environmental hazards such as acid rain can drastically change the pH level of large areas of soil. Plant life is controlled to a certain extent by this pH level. Maintaining the correct pH level in your soil is vital for conservation.
Test the Salinity of the Soil
Just like pH, improper levels of salt can have a negative effect on the metabolism of the plants in the soil. Excessive salinity levels will lead to the death of vegetation, which causes erosion. Test the topsoil annually to ensure it has the correct salinity.