Preventing Soil Erosion During Land Clearing

Maintaining existing trees and vegetation is the most effective way to reduce soil erosion. Leaving an untouched area or a strip of vegetation between the clearing activity and the property boundaries can provide a living filter to limit sediment outflow from the site. Retaining walls with terraces can create a barrier that keeps the ground in place and prevents water runoff that would otherwise carry sediment down the hillside after each rain. Terraces are efficient at retaining water, giving it time to infiltrate the ground, and also improve water drainage in your land.

If you have problems with heavy water runoff that falls on your backyard, you can build a berm to minimize water damage to your land. Sustainable grazing and pasture management techniques, such as rotational grazing, can reduce the risk of pastures being exhausted. Planting permanent vegetation all over the land is not necessary if you plan to leave some parts for gardening or cultivation. This is especially important for farmers trying to reduce the overuse of chemicals in their fields and for communities living near farmland where many agrochemicals are applied.

Celebrating World Soil Day (December) is a great way to thank the Earth that holds everything together so that there is life on Earth. If you have a persistent problem of soil erosion in some parts of your property, you should consider taking steps to divert rainwater and control its flow through your land. Capturing or controlling runoff at or near the source before it reaches the problem area of erosion is often the least expensive solution. Typical lawns tend to have very short roots and therefore don't protect hillsides from erosion as well as native, woody perennials.

Overgrazing and land disturbances caused by keeping too many animals in an area for too long a period of time are one of the most common causes of soil erosion, which eventually even leads to severe soil degradation. Creating dry streams that direct water away from your land or channel runoff to a designated area can help with oversaturation and drainage problems in some lands, especially those that are prone to flooding. The slope of the land and the drainage characteristics of the soils also determine the intensity of surface runoff, so it's important to take steps to prevent erosion in order to protect your long-term investment. Afforestation can be an excellent and cheap solution that can help with these issues.

Léo Brotman
Léo Brotman

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