Soil Conservation: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Farrell

Jen has taught Science in accredited schools in North & South America for thirteen years and has a degree in Sociology (Epidemiology & Aids Research).

Humans need soil to survive, but each year we are losing large amounts of it. In this lesson, discover how humans and nature damage the Earth's soil, and what we can do to save it.

Importance of Soil on Earth

What would you do if you found a huge bag of your favorite candy? Would you eat it all right away until there was nothing left, or would you try and make it last by eating only a few pieces at a time? Saving some of your candy for the future is an example of conservation. Conservation is the act of saving or protecting a resource.

Soil is a resource found naturally on the Earth. We depend on soil for growing the majority of the fruits and vegetables we eat. Most of the Earth is covered in water, leaving about 29% of Earth's surface as land. Of that land, only 10.9% is arable, or suitable for growing food. Soil also takes a very long time to build up. With limited land available for food production in areas covered by desert or ice and the extremely slow process of soil replacement, there is a need to conserve the soil.

Wind, Water, and Humans

Erosion is the breaking down and loss of land caused by nature and humans. Three common causes of erosion are wind, water, and human activity.

When wind blows across the land, it moves unattached pieces of rocks and dirt from one location to another. During this process, these pieces of rock and dirt can cause more erosion as they collide with or scrape across the land.

Over time, large ocean waves striking against the shore cause the coastline to change shape. Rainfall hitting the ground, water flowing across the land after a heavy rain, and rivers flooding can cause immediate erosion of soil.

Even some practices that benefit the survival of humans, such as farming and building homes, are major contributors to soil loss. Animals that graze land eat plants whose roots hold soil down. The removal of trees for space to grow food or construct houses leaves the soil more exposed to natural erosion.

Erosion changes the shape of the land
Soil Erosion

Soil Conservation

Remember the candy example at the beginning of the lesson? If challenged to conserve your candy for one month, you could probably think of many diverse techniques for meeting this task. There are also many methods of soil conservation.

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