(i) Read the passage given below carefully and answer the questions that follow:
1. The practice of soil conservation involves methods to reduce soil erosion, prevent depletion of soil nutrients, and restore nutrients, already lost by erosion and excessive crop harvesting. Most methods used to control soil erosion involve, keeping
the soil covered with vegetation.
2. In conventional farming, the land is ploughed several times and smoothed to make a planting surface – a practice that makes it vulnerable to soil erosion. To reduce erosion, an increasing number of farmers in many countries are using conservation –
tillage farming, also known as minimum – tillage, or no‐ till farming, depending on the
degree to which the soil is disturbed. Farmers using these methods disturb the soil as
little as possible in planting crops.
3. For the minimum‐tillage method, special tillers break up and loosen the
subsurface soil without turning over the topsoil. In no‐till farming special planting
machines inject seeds, fertilizers and weed‐killers into slits made in the unploughed
4. In addition to reducing soil erosion, conversation – tillage and no‐till farming reduce fuel and tillage costs and water loss from soil. They can also increase the number of crops that can be grown during a season.
5. Soil erosion can also be reduced by 30‐50 percent on gently sloping land by means of contour farming – ploughing and planting crops in rows across, rather than up and down, the sloped contours of the land. Each row planted horizontally along the slope of the land acts as a small dam to help hold and slow the runoff of water.
6. Terracing can be used on steeper slopes. Each terrace retains some of the water running down the vegetated slope. Terracing provides water for crops at all levels and decreases soil erosion by reducing the amount and speed of water runoff. In areas of high rainfall, diversions ditches must be built behind each terrace to permit adequate drainage.
7. In strip cropping, a series of rows of one crop, such as corn or soybeans, is planted in a wide strip. Then the next strip is planted with a soil‐conserving cover crop, such as grass or grass‐legume mixture, which completely covers the soil and thus reduces erosion. These alternating rows of cover trap soil that erodes from the other rows, catch and reduce water runoff, and help prevent the spread of plant diseases and pests from one strip to another.
8. Windbreaks can reduce erosion caused by exposure of cultivated lands to high winds or shelter beats. These are long rows of trees planted to partially block the wind. Windbreaks also provide habitats for birds, pest eating and pollinating insects and other animals.
2.1. On the basis of your reading of the above passage make notes on it using
headings and sub‐headings. Use recognizable abbreviations, wherever necessary. Give the passage a suitable title. (5 marks)
2.2. Write a summary of the notes prepared in not more than 80 words. (3 marks)