Soil conservation is an effort made by man to prevent soil erosion in order to retain the fertility of soil. It may not be possible to stop soil erosion entirely.
Any erosion such as gullies already formed should be tackled by construction of dams or obstructions. Ploughing and tilling of land should be done along contour levels so that the furrows run across the slope of land. Bunds should be constructed according to contours. Trees reduce the force of straight winds and obstruct blowing away of dust particles. Plants, grass and shrubs reduce the speed of flowing water. Therefore, such vegetable cover should not be removed indiscriminately, where it dose not exist, steps should be taken to plant it.
Natural vegetation cover prevents soil erosion in three ways : (i) The roots of plants bind together the particles of soil; (ii) Plants check the force of wind so that it cannot blow away the soil particles; and (iii) Plants lessen the force of rain as it reaches the ground.
Measures for Soil Conservation
(i) Planting cover crops such as grasses, on uncultivated land. Trees should be Planted along hill slopes.
(ii) Adoption of correct farming techniques such as contour ploughing and strip Cropping,. Strip cropping is the practice of planting alternate rows of close growing plants such as beans and peas, with open growing crops such as corn. This practice prevents wind erosion.
(iii) Terracing, the practice of cutting steps in hillside, to create level land for Cultivation.
(iv) Construction of check dams on steep slopes which prevent gully erosion and Spread gullies.
(v) Creation of wind breaks by planting lines of trees, hedges or fences which Obstruct the path of wind thereby reducing its speed and hence reducing soil erosion.
(vi) Controlling grazing of pastures.
(vii) Suspending cultivation for one season and more, so as to help the soil recover its fertility.