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Answered 2008-11-24 00:34:24

Being an organic gardener for many years, I think I can answer this question with a good deal of accuracy. For one thing, soil is made up of many microorganisms, organic matter, and minerals. In order for soil to be healthy and preserved in a way to keep it healthy, and in place, many things must be considered.

* If used for agriculture, (gardening or farming) the soil must always be replenished in nutrients, and organic matter.

* t must be prevented from eroding and washing away, by the use of mulches, and plants which keep it in place, through a network of roots.

* Trees are a good thing for soil conservation, as well as small plants, whose roots keep it from washing away. * Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and planting the same things over and over, are bad for soil. Chemicals kill microorganisms, which are essential for good soil. Microorganisms help break organic matter down into soil. Have you ever wondered why the soil in a forest is so black and rich? It's from leaves decomposing over time.

* The dust bowl of the 30's, with resultant crop failure, was partially caused by chemicals, machinery, and the planting of one crop over time (wheat). At first production was so good, the farmers made a lot of money. There was so much wheat, that the price fell drastically, and the farmers went broke, then abandoned their farms. Then a drought hit, and the soil was so barren, it just blew away, creating the infamous "Dust bowl".

There is a lot more to all of this of course, but you get the picture.

* If you garden, it's very important to return nutrients to the soil. * Composting, adding leaves and other organic materials helps very much, and prevents the need for chemical fertilizers.

* Washing away of soil, is also a consideration.

* Be sure to mulch, and not till too often if possible. You'd be surprised what will grow without tilling the earth.

I hope this has at least partially helped answer the question about soil conservation. I welcome any questions, or disagreements. There's lots of things you can do, but I am definitely not an expert. Here are some things I've learned.

* Vary the plants you have in one area, different plants steal different nutrients. Varying the crops helps. * Return the plant waste each season back into the soil. The key thing here is nutrients. * Another big problem with soil is the deterioration of the top soil (result: dustbowl). It's important for plant life and just holding everything together. Water distribution. You name it. Plowing and other practices can mess it up causing erosion and runoff.

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