Techniques & Strategies for Environmental Conservation
Due to the causes of environmental problems, the global environment which provides us with basic necessities of life is degenerating year in and year out; water scarcity and environmental pollution are greatly hampering mankind’s progress.
Decades of drastic changes in land use and the extravagant and unreasonable exploitation of natural resources have led to rapid degradation of the natural environment in many parts of the world.
Each person is part of the international community and needs to help create a society that would protect the natural environment or restore it to its natural or original state and ensure there will be continuous harmony between human activities and natural ecosystems.
The techniques, methods, or practices used to conserve the environment are many and varied. Some of them are expensive while others are inexpensive and require people to apply and become familiar with them; others are temporary, while others are permanent; still yet, others are widely useful, while others are limited to specific conditions.
The following techniques and strategies can be used to maintain or preserve the natural environment:
1. Tree planting, supply of more vegetative cover, and sustainable forest/vegetation management
More trees, grasses, plants, dense vegetative cover, and sustainable forest management are needed in critical places of the natural environment around many parts of the world.
Appropriate plantings and management should be effected on steep slopes, odd corners, or other problematic areas that provide food, stable water supplies, habitation for wildlife, and help to control soil erosion, conserve soil fertility, absorb and accumulate greenhouse gases, and mitigate natural disasters such as landslides and floods.
2. Crop rotation, narrow row spacing, and strip cropping
Crop rotation is an important and necessary environmental conservation technique because it uses series of different crops to protect soil against erosion, considerably reduce erosion, and also provide more income. Crops that are strictly grown for the purpose of protecting soil are known as cover crops.
The practice of narrow row spacing is equally an important and effective environmental conservation technique because it enables row crops to provide better soil cover much earlier and improve both crop yield and soil erosion control.
In addition to crop rotation and narrow row spacing, there are various forms of strip cropping that can reduce wind erosion, water erosion, and environmental pollution.
3. Contour tillage & no-tillage systems, and mechanical methods
The practice of certain types of tillage systems—which are usually inexpensive and don’t require investments unless equipment is required—are effective environmental conservation techniques because they hold more crop residues on soil surfaces and considerably reduce erosion.
For instance, by employing contour tillage, erosion is often reduced to half of what it would be if straight-line tillage is employed in place of contour tillage. The no-tillage system is even more effective and rapidly expanding because modern herbicides are making it unnecessary to use tillage (till the soil).
Mechanical methods could be either metallic structures, wooden structures, and concrete structures which exist in forms such as dams, terraces, chutes, drainages, channels, or any object that can limit erosion and environmental degradation by controlling water flow, holding soil, and preventing surface water pollution.
4. Less intensive land use
Inappropriate use of land constitutes a major problem: most lands are only suitable for some purposes, while others are unsuitable, and vice-versa. One of the best ways to conserve land/soil and the air and water environments around it is to use each land/soil within its capabilities and prevent intensive land use when it can degrade the environment.
Some lands are suitable for intensive cropping, especially if they have deep and fertile soil that has favorable texture and structure. On the other hand, other lands are only suitable for wildlife and other non-disruptive purposes because they are stony, shallow, steep, or too steep, and limited in ways that make them only suitable for specific purposes.
Therefore, it’s advisable to be prudent when using a particular land, while acknowledging fully well that some land uses conserve the environment, while others can degrade it.
5. Sustainable uses of natural resources
Cooperation or ties need to be established or strengthened between various governments, NGOs, and international organizations in order to promote activities that can reduce over-exploitation and excessive usage of natural resources; sustainable use of natural resources need to be commenced, enhanced, or maintained in different parts of the world, especially developing countries where the majority of inhabitants rely on local natural resources to sustain their lives on a daily basis.
6. Biodiversity conservation by protecting certain areas
In addition to buffer zones and national parks, more protected areas need to be set up to promote environmental education, support and promote the harmonious coexistence of nature and humans, and reduce the risk of species extinction due to overhunting of wildlife, growing or breeding of alien species in new environments, climate change, and other factors.
7. Effective solid waste management
In many parts of the world, the existing sanitation, public health, and pollution control schemes tied to recycling and solid waste management need to be improved in order to reduce the environmental impacts of the solid waste that is being generated increasingly and in large quantities.
8. Effective air, water, and land pollution control
Assessments of pollution situations need to be made, institutions have to be developed, and regulations have to be enforced or re-enforced in order to reduce and prevent cases of air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution due to mercury pollution, chemical substances, oil spillage, and lack of environmental management in urban and rural areas.