Pan African Conservation Education Project

Soil

    Soil is the thin layer of earth that plants and trees grow in. It’s composed of broken down rocks, organic matter such as rotten plants, and living organisms like worms. Without soil, nothing would exist. No plants or trees would grow, and we would have nothing to eat.

     The soil is like the human body. In order to be healthy, it needs food, water, shelter and rest. Plants grow by taking the nutrients and minerals they need from the soil. We get the nutrients and minerals we need from eating those plants. Soil is essential to life, but each year Africa loses thousands of millions of wheelbarrow loads of soil to erosion. We need to find ways look after it.

     Soil works hard for us every year, growing our food, but are we giving it what it needs to survive? Without shelter, harsh sunlight bakes the soil, and torrential rains wash it away. Without food - new inputs of organic matter - soil loses its nutrients. We must feed it well for it to feed us well. Fortunately, there are many things people can do to help soil restore and keep its fertility.

This topic is all about soil, how it is formed, how it is lost, and how to look after it. Even the smallest child can play a part in looking after the crucial resource underneath our feet.

DOWNLOAD: EXCERPTS FROM AFRICA OUR HOME (PDF)

How is soil made {pages 68-69}

Look after the creatures who look after you: Soil Life [pages 88-89]

Feeding the soil [pages 78-79]

Working with diversity: Spreading the risk [pages 86-87]

We can work together: Ways to Save Our Soils [pages90-91]

Healthy eating [pages 92-93)

 

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITIES FOR SCHOOLS AND YOUTH GROUPS (PDF)

ACTIVITIES FOR EDUCATORS: SOIL 1. Does it rot or not? Experiment (primary);           2. Investigate! Communicate! Research and share information about agroforestry (upper primary, lower secondary) ; 3. A Model Farm : Practical experiment to investigate soil erosion (upper primary, lower secondary)


DOWNLOAD SOIL ACTION SHEETS (PDF)

Conservation Agriculture

Practical Composting

Making Tea for Plants

Natural Pest and Disease Control

Mulching

Agroforestry

Planting Nitrogen Fixing Trees

Planting Fodder Banks for Livestock

Growing Fruit and Nut Trees

Green Manure/Cover Crops for Biomass Transfer

Living Fences

Windbreaks

Saving Soil and Water on Sloping Land

Drip Irrigation

Buried Clay Pot Irrigation

Rainwater Harvesting for Crops

Setting up a Community Seed Bank

 

DOWNLOAD SOIL DIRECTORY (PDF)

For further details of helpful organisations listed in the Action Sheets see the PACE DIRECTORY. Please note that this was compiled in 2007 and you may need to use Internet research or contact pace@siren.org.uk to request updated details on specific addresses

FILMS

Soils
 

The soil films are available from PACE, pace@siren.org.uk. The following are the sections of the DVD which are applicable to this topic:

COMPOST AND MULCH - Food and Trees for Africa, South Africa
http://www.trees.co.za/

GREEN MANURE - WCS COMACO, Zambia                                                                        www.itswild.org ; http://www.wcs.org/conservation-challenges/local-livelihoods/farming-communities/wcs-and-comaco.aspx

NATURAL PEST CONTROL - Food and Trees for Africa, South Africa http://www.trees.co.za

CONSERVATION FARMING - WCS COMACO, Zambia
www.itswild.org ; http://conservationagriculture.org/ ; www.act-africa.org

AGROFORESTRY - WCS COMACO, Zambia
http://www.itswild.org/ ; www.worldagroforestrycentre.org

PERMACULTURE - Toronto School, South Africa
http://torontoprimaryschool.co.za/index.html ; http://www.permaculture.org.uk/international/africa

Click on the links above to find out more about these projects.


Waste... becomes compost... helps grow healthy crops
 


Protecting the soil: A student applies mulch to the Toronto School food garden, South Africa. © Sarah Watson

Mr. Trasizo Phiri’s cabbage crop benefits from green manure - the soil has been enriched by nitrogen-rich leaves and branches from trees grown on the farm. (Kafunkha Agroforestry Farmers Club, Chiundamila, Zambia) © Jenny Sharman

 

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Last Updated on 07/08/2014

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