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Sustainable land management technologies: soil erosion control



Soil erosion control is the prevention or control of wind or water erosion that leads to the detachment, transportation and re-deposition of soil particles and the loss of soil fertility. Soil erosion control can be used on different land use types, such as cropland and forest/woodland. There are many approaches to reducing soil erosion, and most fall into one of three measures: 1) structural measures, such as bunds and stone walls; 2) vegetative measures, such as windbreaks and live hedges, and 3) combined or integrated measures, such as river bank stabilization.


According to the report on sustainable land management (SLM) by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI), soil erosion control has a high potential to control on-site soil erosion and can provide co-benefits including improving yield/productivity and water availability and retention. In addition, vegetative measures that use perennial woody vegetation (shrubs and trees) or grasses could increase soil organic Carbon (SOC) and support carbon sequestration in woody biomass, and provide other co-benefits, such as increasing plant and terrestrial biodiversity.

Examples of SLM best practices in soil erosion control

Below are examples of best practices in soil erosion control cited in the report on SLM by the SPI.

Rockwall Terracing

Rockwall terracing refers to the piling of stones or rocks along contour lines to reduce soil erosion in hilly areas. Terraces are built to reduce soil erosion and ease land preparation through the removal of naturally-present rocks in the cultivated area. It also contributes to the partial arrangement and diversification of land use. The technology is a traditional practice in the Philippines.

Semi-circular bunds

Semi-circular bunds are used to rehabilitate degraded, denuded and hardened land for crop growing, grazing or forestry. The technology involves building low embankments with compacted earth or stones in the form of a semi-circle with the opening perpendicular to the flow of water and arranged in staggered rows.

They are constructed on gently to moderately sloping pediments and plateau areas in order to rehabilitate areas that are degraded, denuded and/or affected by soil crusting. The bunds reduce the loss of water and the fertile layers of the soil.

Gully control and catchment protection

Integrated gully treatment consisting of several simple practices including stone and wooden check dams, cut-off drains and reforestation in sediment traps.


Read about other SLM technology groups


vegetation management

water management

grazing pressure management

animal waste management

sustainable forest management

reducing deforestation


forest restoration



minimum soil disturbance

fire pest and diseases control



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