Soil conservation is a set of management strategies for prevention of soil being eroded from the Earth’s surface or becoming chemically altered by overuse, acidification, salinization or other chemical soil contamination.
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers (soil horizons) that are primarily composed of minerals which differ from their parent materials in their texture, structure, consistency, colour, chemical, biological and other characteristics. It is the unconsolidated or loose covering of fine rock particles that covers the surface of the earth. Soil is the end product of the influence of the climate (temperature, precipitation), relief (slope), organisms (flora and fauna), parent materials (original minerals), temperature, and time. Soil is altered from its parent material by the interactions between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
Soil which is one of the most important gifts of nature to mankind is a complex mixture of minerals and organic matter along with air and water that supports plant life. Nature in the ecosystem has provided a good covering in the form of grass, shrubs, trees and other vegetation to the soil which protected it against destruction caused by water and wind. But as soon as man started cutting down the protective vegetation cover of the steep slopes and grazing the pastures with their livestock, loss of soil started and its pace quickened with passage of time. Once this process of soil erosion started, it continued unabated, resulting in virtually total loss of the best productive soil surface of the land.
Soil conservation practices includes both biological and engineering methods. Biological methods includes afforestation, reforestation, reseeding, improvement of rangeland, strip cropping etc. Kail, Deodar, Horse chestnut and walnut have been planted at high elevation.
Chir pine about 70% of it with Acacia modesta, Robinia pseudocacia, Ailanthus glandulossa, Poplar, Mulberry and Eucalyptus upto 2000-5000 feet height in suitable places. Soil get collected behind the check dam where species like Robinia pseudocacia and Ailanthus glandulosa are planted. In the nullah beds and in gullies Robinia pseudocacia, Iple Iple good soil binder species have been planted to stop erosion in nullahs and gullies. In the flat areas Eucalyptus, a fast growing species has been introduced with good results. Fruit trees have been introduce on bandoned fields such as walnut, plum, apple, apricot etc in order to conserved the soil and to give extra income to the farmer.Other soil conservation practices include terracing, waterways, stip cropping etc.
Leveled land piece on slope is called terracing. Terracing help to prevent soil erosion, it catch rain water by interception, crop can grow in safe condition. Bands of row and close crops are planted along the contour, is called terracing. Waterways are made mostly in humid region, in one acre about 100 m waterway are made.
Engineering methods include, drainage ditches, culverts, spill ways for the disposal of excess runoff, brushed wood, loose stone or masonry check dams for controlling sheet, rill and gully erosions; retaining walls for stabilizing terraces or road cuts and fills; and embankment structures for preventing stream bank erosion. Spur are engineering structure use to divert the water and prevent the water to cause erosion.