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General land reclamation problems

Land reclamation is a package of measures aimed at regulation (improvement) of the major components of natural environment (factors of plant life).

In most cases, the target of agricultural hydrotechnical reclamation works is represented by soils; the instrument of agricultural hydrotechnical reclamation works is regulation of their water and associated air, thermal, and nutritive regimes along with agrotechnical measures. The objectives, goals, and nature of land reclamation are determined by agrobiological requirements of crops, economic and managerial potential that depend on the level of development of social production.

The following major tasks are solved through agricultural hydrotechnical reclamation works:

  • Increase of the volume of agricultural production by reclaiming and converting of formerly unused lands (marshes, arid areas, etc.) into agriculturally used areas.
  • Increase of the volume of agricultural production by intensifying the use of the lands available in the farm by improving their effective fertility (elimination of temporary waterlogging, irrigation, soil conservation, radical improvement of grasslands, etc.).
  • Creation of conditions for rational use of farm equipment and other means of production by conducting cultivation and technical measures (consolidation of fields, leveling, removal of stones, etc.).

Land reclamation requirements vary depending on the conditions of business relationship.

In broad geographic terms, depending on which components of natural environment are the targets of reclamation measures, these measures may be of different types, sub-types, and forms. In turn, depending on the way to carry out reclamation each form can be divided into a series of sub-forms.

Classification of reclamation according to effect on natural constituents or complexes
(according to A.M. Shulgin, V.G. Grinevetskiy, V.S. Anoshko et al.)




Water (hydrotechnical)


Reclamation of marshland

Drying-out of wetlands

Flood control

Flood and waterlogging control

Waterlogging control

Elimination of stagnation of meteoric water on surface (wet spots)


Moistening irrigation

Fertilizer irrigation (fertigation)

Defrosting irrigation

Soil-cleaning irrigation

Disinfecting irrigation

Drainage & moistening (drainage & irrigation)

Control of water-air regime of drained lands

Irrigation of drained marshes and wetlands


Watering of arid areas

Watering of low-water areas

Watering under the conditions of humid zones



Making depressions in ground

Narrow conventional plowing

Soil trimming




Soil slotting (para-plowing)

Mole plowing




Nonmoldboard loosening

Deep plowing

Soil decompaction

Sheet erosion control

Ravine erosion control

Soil blowing control

Subsurface erosion control


Formation of topsoil

Granulometric enrichment of soil (addition of sand, addition of clay)

Thickening of humus-accumulated horizon

Cultivation and technical

Surface levelling

Land clearance

Land management

Landscape & reclaiming

Reclamation of open-cast mines

peat mines

rock dump pits

ash-disposal areas

destructions caused by natural disasters (floods, dust storms, hurricanes, etc.)



Formation of woodland belts

Overall (solid) afforestation

Phytoncide (resort) planting

Landscape conservation

Water protection

Wind control

Snow control

Bank protection

Landslide and landslip control



Frosts control

Basin & thermal


Damping-out control

Frost-killing control

Moisture distribution

Precipitation enhancement

Snow-melting control

Wind weakening

Antihurricane measures (in hurricane formation places)

Local arrangements

Chemical (agrochemical)




Application of mineral fertilizers

Control of nutrient distribution over the landscape

Application of lime (on acidic soils)

Acid control (on soda solonchak and solonetzic soils, and other soils with high alkality)

Application of gypsum (on solonetzic and alkali soils)

Soil conditioning

Soil stabilization against soil blowout

Soil silicatization

Sanitary & disinfecting

Application of arboricides

Application of pesticides

Source: Golchenko, M.G., Lagun, T.D., Osnovin, V.N. Land reclamation and water management. Gorki Publishing House, 2003

Selected bibliography