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Measures for Soil and Water Conservations

It is the technique in which deterioration of soil and it looses is reserve by using it within its capabilities and applying conservation technique for production as well as improvement of soil.

Soil and Water Conservation Measures

Agronomical Measure ( Biological)

 Engineering Practices

1. Contour cultivation

 1. Terracing

2. Strip Cropping

 a. Diversion terrace:



a. Contour strip cropping

i. Magnum type.

b.  Field strip cropping

ii. Nichols type.

c. Buffer strip cropping

iii. Broad based type

d. Wind strip cropping 

iv. Narrow based type



3. Tillage practices

b. Retention Terrace


c. Bench terrace

a. Mulch Tillage


b. Vertical mulching

 2. Banding

c. Minimum tillage

 a. Contour banding

d. Conventional tillage


e. Listening 

i. Narrow based


ii. Broad based

4. Soil management practices


5. Supporting Practices (Interplanting, fertilizer application)

c. Side bunds

6. Vetiver grass planting  

d. Lateral bund


e. Supplemental bunds


f. Marginal bund


g. Shoulder bund

A. Agronomical measures:

Agronomical measures or practice if growing vegetation non mild sloppy land to cover them and to control the erosion from there. Agronomical measures include contouring, strip cropping and tillage practices to control the soil erosion. The use of these measures is entirely dependant upon the soil types, land slope and rainfall characteristic. It plays second line of defense after mechanical or engineering measures. It is more economical, long lasting and effective.

1. Contour cultivation:

It refers to all the tillage practices, mechanical treatments like planting, tillage and intercultural, performed nearly on the contour of the area applied across the land slope.

Inflow rainfall regions the primary purpose of contour cultivation is to conserve the rain water in to soil as much as possible.

In humid regions its basic purpose is to reduce the soil erosion or soil loss by retarding the overland flow. In this system, the furrows between the ridges made on the contours hold the runoff water and stored them into the soil. Thus they reduce the runoff and soil erosion.

2. Strip Cropping:

It is also a kind of agronomical practice, in which ordinary crops are planted or grown in form of relatively narrow strips across the land slope. These strips are so arranged, that the strips crops should always be separated by strips of close-growing and erosion resistance crops. Strip cropping check the surface runoff and forces them to infiltrate in to the soil, which facilitates to the concentration of rain water. It is more effective than contouring [about twice effective as contouring] but it does not effect on soil erosion.


Controls erosion by

  • Reducing the runoff flowing through the close growing sod strips.

  • Increasing the infiltration rate of soil under cover condition.

Types of strip cropping:

  1. Contour strip cropping.

  2. Field strip cropping.

  3. Buffer strip cropping.

  4. Wind strip cropping.

3. Tillage practices:

It is defined as mechanical manipulation of soil to provide a favorable environment for good germination of seed and crop growth, to control the weeds, to maintain infiltration capacity and soil aeration. Tillage practice protects and maintains a strong soil structure to fight against erosion.

Types of tillage operation [practices]

a. Mulch tillage:[ application of many plant residues or other material to cover top soil surface ].

Mulching material:

Cut grasses, straw material, wood chips. Saw dusts, paper and sand stones, glass wools, metal foils and stone plastic.

Types of Mulch:

Natural, synthetic, petroleum, conventional, Inorganic, organic.

b. Vertical Mulching:

Insertion of stuffed plant residue vertically into subsoiler marks to keep the slot open.

c. Minimum Tillage:

Preparation of seedbed with minimum disturbance of soil

d. Conventional tillage:

Ploughing, secondary cultivation with harrowing and planting

e. Listing:

Used for controlling soil erosion.
i. Hard ground listing.
ii. Loose ground listing.

4. Soil management practices:

Various soil and land management practices are –

  1. Those practice which helps to maintain the soil filtration rate at high level to reduce runoff to a negligible amount.

  2. Practices which helps in safe disposal of runoff from field.

The cultural practices which are helpful for creation of high infiltration rate are essential based on farming techniques, tillage or minimum tillage and use of cover crops. Where as the safe disposal of runoff from the field is carried out by physical manipulation of soil surface. Including land shaping, leveling construction of ridges, bunds and water ways

5. Supporting Practices:

It involves application of fertilizers to soil either to make more fertile or to recover the fertility loss during different physical action. Application of fertilizer plays sometimes a significant role to developed abundance vegetative growth e.g. grass waterways and terrace outlet are generally established on low – fertile sub soil.

Inter planting refers to seeding of grass or legume crops in combination of maize or other crops to achieve better result on erosion control.

6. Vetiver Grass Planting:

It is most effective vegetative material foe soil and water conservation, land rehabilitation and embankment stabilization. Vegetative hedge formed with thick growth of vetiver grass forms a protective barrier across slope which slows down sheet erosion and deposit the slit behind hedges.

B. Engineering Practices:

It is used to control the soil erosion in highly sloped areas

1. Terracing

a. Diversion terrace

  • Magnum type.

  • Nichols type

  • Broad based type.

  • Narrow based type.

b. Retention terrace

c. Bench terrace.

2. Banding:

a. Contour banding

  • Narrow based

  • Broad based

b. Graded banding

  • Narrow based

  • Broad based

c. Side bunds [formed at extreme ends of contour bunds running along the slopes of land]

d. Lateral Bund [Constructed between two side bunds along slope].

e. Supplemental bunds (between two contour bund so as to limit horizontal spacing)

f. Marginal bund [Formed at margin points of watershed]

g. Shoulder bund [Formed at outer edge of terrace]

Current Category » Watershed Management Including Surveying