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‘Human activities have not only brought about the degradation of land but have also aggravated the pace of natural forces to cause damage to land’. 

(a) Mention the human activities which cause land degradation. 

(b) In what different ways can you contribute to the conservation of soil?

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(a) When the land becomes unproductive or have no further use, we say that the land is degraded. There are both natural and human activities that damage the land, but recently the increase in land degradation is mainly caused due to human activities. 

1. Deforestation:

Forests are helpful in binding up of soil particles with the help of roots of vegetation. Therefore, cutting о forests will affect the soil adversely. 

2. Excessive Use of Fertilizers and Pesticides: 

Excessive use of fertilizers is causing an imbalance in the number of certain nutrients in the soil. This imbalance adversely affects the vegetation. 

3. Overgrazing: 

Increase in livestock population results in overexploitation of pastures. Due to this, grass and other types of vegetation are unable to survive and grow in the area, and lack of vegetation cover leads to soil erosion.

4. Salination: 

Salts dissolved In Irrigation water accumulate on the soil surface due to inadequate drainage, especially during the flood.  

(b) Soil erosion removes the topsoil that is necessary for organic matter, nutrients, micro-organisms that ware required for plants to grow and shine. Soil conservation protects the soil from being washed away. 

The methods of soil conservation are : 

Contour Plowing – plowing grooves into the desired farmland, then planting the crop furrows in the grooves and following the contours is a very effective way for farmland on slopes to prevent runoff improve crop yields. 

Terrace Farming – Terracing is a method of carving multiple, lat leveled areas into hills. Steps are formed by the terraces which are surrounded by a mud wall to prevent runoff and hold the soil nutrients in the beds. 

Crop Rotation – Covering crops with cash crops in order to blanket the soil all year- round and produces green manure the replenishes nitrogen and other critical nutrients 

Green Manures – Green manures are a few different crops that can be grown, not for produce or food usage, but grown in order to fertilize the farmland on which it grows.

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