Soil degradation is fast becoming a global problem due to the rise in poor management of soil for industrial, agricultural or urban purposes. When this natural resource is overused or not used properly, there is a decline in the soil fertility, loss of alkalinity and can cause soil erosion and flooding in various parts of the world. Thus, soil degradation is a complete biological, physical and chemical degradation of this essential human nutrient that helps support the global food demand and also traps carbon and toxic materials.
Therefore, it is important to find a solution to this global problem to promote the well-being of nature and humanity. Here are some solutions to prevent this soil degradation and restore the fertility and nutrient quality of the earth.
When bare soil has no tree or plant cover, it is exposed to wind and water and is more prone to erosion. Thus, it is important to create global reforestation schemes and sustainable tree planting solutions to promote afforestation to protect the soil from erosion. In Queensland alone, around 418,656 hectares of land were lost in one year. Thus, it is necessary to stop this global rampant deforestation and soil degradation by planting more trees that will hold the soil together and prevent erosion.
Excessive ploughing of soil can degrade the nutrient and plant matter and also promote flooding as the water might not be able to permeate through soil during irrigation. This is because the layer of topsoil with nutrients and organic matter is exposed to the winds after ploughing and can get eroded. To combat this, many countries are now opting to either stop or lessen ploughing and opting to cultivate cover crops after a harvest. These cover crops will help reclaim the soil nutrients and preserve moisture.
One of the best ways to prevent soil degradation is to replace chemical fertilisers and pesticides with organic manure and compost. Chemical fertilisers destroy the topsoil and also kill some of the good bacteria and microorganisms that are essential for the soil quality and enrichment. Thus, it is better for farmers to use organic compost and manure to promote the growth of good bacteria and also replenish the soil quality and nutrient value.
In areas that are highly prone to heavy windfalls, it is important to cultivate and grow windbreaker shrubs and trees to protect the soil from erosion. These windbreaker shrubs will also protect the plants and organic matter and keep the soil tightly bound. Farmers can also create effective shelterbelt designs in these regions to protect the land from degradation.
Lastly, experts believe that it is important to reclaim topsoil and let the nutrients grow by rotating agricultural lands. This will give the land a break from overcultivation and give it a chance to rebuild its nutrients and topsoil. An inch of topsoil can take anywhere between 50 to a hundred years to grow and thus it is important to give the land a rest in between cultivation periods so that this topsoil can be retained in good form.
Thus, the global problem of soil degradation is a serious issue that needs immediate action and must be done through collaborative and sustainable efforts by farmers and government agencies. The above solutions can also help prevent soil degradation by promoting the growth of soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter and is not susceptible to erosion.