Land restoration

Land restoration is the ecological process of bringing previously degraded land back into use for humans and wildlife and does not harm the surrounding ecosystems. This process helps restore ecosystems, feeds the growing global population, prevents erosion and prevents flooding and droughts. Here are six ways land restoration can be done across the globe to improve the quality of land:

Rapid Afforestation

Planting trees in lands without any vegetation cover or in areas where massive deforestation has taken place will help protect the topsoil, trap carbon and will also form biomass to improve the nutritional quality and organic material of the soil.

Controlled Grazing

Allowing the controlled grazing of grasslands and pastures by bovine animals like cattle and bison to promote the healthy growth of topsoil and organic matter as the roaming can help preserve the soil and create good quality topsoil.

Regrowing Floodplain Areas

Conscious effort to rebuild and restore floodplain areas across the globe and prevent runoff from agricultural areas so that these lands can be made productive and can help improve water quality and prevent flooding and droughts in the future.

Crop Rotation

Planting a variety of crops in rotation on the same soil will help prevent the buildup of pests and pathogens that can happen when one crop variety is grown in one area and this will also help preserve the soil’s nutrients.

Cover Cropping

In cover-cropping, a series of crops like sugarcane and sweet potatoes are grown in lands after the harvest season to help prevent erosion of the topsoil as there is a huge gap between the harvest and the next crop-growing cycle.

Accelerated Agroforestry

In agroforestry, farmers can grow trees and shrubs along rotating crops in their farmlands to help improve soil health and retain carbon in the soil and also add to the crop yield of the farms by making it more productive.

Ecosystem restoration

Degraded land can be restored via the above practices but it is also necessary to recognise the cause of the land degradation, stabilise the site, reconstruct the land and monitor the area to ensure the land is properly restored and there is rich and productive soil growing there.

Identifying Degradation Causes & Prevention

The first thing that farmers and landlords need to do is to look at the causes of degradation of the land, identify the problem and then address them. Without knowing the actual cause of the degradation, it is difficult to restore the land to its full potential. For instance, if a land is unproductive or the soil is of bad and loose quality due to salinity and overflooding issues, planting more trees and shrubs in the area can help slow the decline of the soil but will not completely restore it. Thus, to ensure the proper restoration of the land, it is necessary to first address the water issues to help prevent further destruction of the land and the topsoil.

Reconstructing Land To Make It More Productive

Once you have identified the cause of the land degradation and helped prevent and stabilise the land, you should work on making the land more productive and restore the nutrient quality of the soil. To do this, you must first see what your aim is for the land and whether you want to use the land as agricultural farmland to grow more productive crops or use the land to reconstruct the ecosystem and natural resources. Along with this, it is important to see how many resources you have at hand and how the condition of the land was before the degradation by identifying similar grasslands or farm areas. This will help you fully restore the land and make it productive and useful for the ecosystem and environment.

Monitoring The Land Constantly

Once you have worked on restoring the land and used all the tools above to make sure the nutrients and topsoil quality is retained, you need to constantly monitor the land and see whether the area has stabilised and is productive and there are no other factors of degradation occurring in the land. This is an initiative that needs to be taken by the government agencies through policies and funds aimed at land restoration. For instance, in several parts of Queensland like Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, the Land Restoration Fund helps support and monitor carbon farming, healthier waterways, a better habitat for threatened species, more resistant topsoil and a more productive ecosystem and land quality in the area.

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