Land reclamation

Land reclamation is a specific technologic way to maintain favorable conditions of lands, natural resource that is critical for agriculture.

Land reclamation implies radical change of lands in the result of set of measures. Among various land reclamation forms, irrigation and drainage are the most common.

Land clearance operations (brushwood clearing, leveling of mole hills, etc.), chemical reclamation (liming and gypsuming of soils), silvicultural reclamation, stabilization of loose sands, water and wind erosion control, etc.

Land reclamation contributes to the maintenance and improvement of soil fertility, growth of crop capacity, rise of farming sustainability, mitigation of the effect of climate and weather fluctuations on production capacity. The scale of land reclamation expands; however, at the current stage the main focus is on enhancing its efficiency.

Three key land reclamation objectives are discerned as follows:

  • Improvement of the lands that are under adverse water regime conditions manifested in either excess moisture or its shortage as compared to the quantity that is deemed sufficient for efficient use of the area for economic purposes;
  • Improvement of the lands that are under adverse physical and chemical properties of soil (heavy clay and muddy soils, saline, with higher acidity, etc.);
  • Improvement of the lands that are liable to damaging physical impacts, i.e. water and wind erosion consisting in the formation of ravines, development of landslides, soil scattering, and so on.

Depending on a concrete purpose, different types of reclamation are employed.

The reclamation oriented to remove excessive moisture from an area is called drainage reclamation. It is used, in addition to agriculture, in public utility, industrial, and road construction, peat extraction, when carrying out curative measures on swamp areas (wetlands), and other land development activities.

The reclamation intended to eliminate water shortage in the soil of agricultural fields is referred to as irrigation.

Reclamation of lands with adverse physical properties is aimed at improving soil aeration, as well as increasing its porosity and permeability. To this effect, proper crop rotation practice is introduced, sand is applied to muddy soil, and mole drainage is performed which contributes to air and water permeability of deep soil layers.

Reclamation of lands with adverse chemical properties consists in removing harmful salts by leaching, lowering soil acidity by applying lime, raising soil nutrient-supplying power by distributing fertilizers, and introduction of proper crop rotation with higher ratio of grass.

Reclamation of lands liable to water and wind erosion generally includes the measures aimed at reducing the quantity and lowering the rate of running down surface water, raising soil resistivity to erosion and dispersion. These measures based on using a wide set of reafforesting, agrotechnical, and hydrotechnical means.

Under current conditions, in the majority of the areas subject to reclamation works, usually not one but several of the above-considered reclamation types are carried out depending on a combination of natural and economic conditions.

For example, forest belts are planted, crop rotation is introduced on irrigated fields, fertilizers are applied, and leaching of saline land plots, etc. is carried out simultaneously with irrigation of the territory. All this, especially at large scale of reclamation construction in our country, makes land reclamation one of the major anthropogenic factors of transformation of nature as a whole and hydrological regime in particular.

Land reclamation is performed with the view of improving soil productivity and keeping viable farming, as well as ensuring guaranteed agricultural production based on maintaining and improving land fertility, as well as creating necessary conditions for drawing of unused and low-yield lands into agricultural production, formation of rational pattern of lands, integrated forest management, and conservation, reproduction, and efficient use of natural resources.

Source: Wikipedia

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