Agriculture: Soil Restoration

Soil is not a machine and like a living thing, it has a period where it wears out or becomes degraded. A degraded soil has Lost its ability to supply food and habitation to living organisms. And degraded soil could be caused by many factors such as human activities, the application of chemicals that could increase soil salinity or alkalinity, it could also be caused by erosion. When this happens, there are several ways to restore so I back to its natural state.

The farmers should opt for organic farming which is the use of natural resources in farming to prevent harm to the environment. Though the practice of inorganic farming is useful and faster, to an extent, it has a way of affecting the soil negatively when adopted for a long period. It involves the use of chemicals which are could gradually degrade the soil for a long time. The switch to organic farming will help restore the soil nutrient.

Soil remediation is another practice you can adopt to restore soil fertility. It is the removal of harmful substances such as coal tar, heavy metals, sewage sludge, liquor or petroleum on the soil. This can be achieved through manual methods where the farmer will remove such substances from the soil or the use of biological methods where the farmer will plant crops with the ability to absorb contaminants from the soil. Shrubs such as willows serve this function effectively. The farmer could also introduce biologically modified microorganisms into contaminated soils. These organisms would reduce the effects of the contaminants.

The farmer could also practice Bush-Fallow. This is a common technique where farmers leave a particular soil for a specific period to allow it to gain its nutrients within the time. This is a form of sacrifice because all forms of farming will be stopped for that period. Within this time, the soil has a way of regaining its nutrients lost and make it ready for subsequent farming seasons. This method is the most effective of all the methods but it requires patience.

The farmer could also make use of green manures or cover crops. Green manures or cover crops prevent the crops from wind and moisture loss. They increase the soil organic matter and nutrients when they decompose. Legume green manures can fix soil nitrogen. In addition to this, they help suppress weed growth on the soil. Its cheaper counterpart is organic compost which is a combination of decomposed plants and animal waste products.

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