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Land Reclamation - What Can You Do? 

People place great demands on resources and the land.  Most reclamation projects are carried out by industry and governments but each and every person can still make a big difference by becoming more aware of what you are buying, using and wasting.

Gardening clipartThe informed consumer can purchase fewer household goods which might harm the environment.  Your local library is a good place to start learning about such things as natural pest control.  Learn how to plant onions, marigolds, garlic, basil or thyme, and weed regularly to ward off pests.  Start a compost heap with vegetable scraps which are full of rich nutrients for your garden.  Weed gardens and lawns by hand rather than using pesticides.  Used motor oil can be dropped off at a collection depot to be re-refined (recycled).  By reducing, reusing and recycling your household wastes you can cut back on the amount of material going to landfills.  This is important when you consider much of our waste is derived from non-renewable resources.

Some other tips:

Clean Up clipartPractice Good Land Use Ethics:  That may sound grand but practicing good land use ethics can be as simple as remembering not to litter or disturb things when you are walking, biking, hiking or just enjoying the natural world.  Good land use practices to follow include staying on trails, cleaning up your camp and picnic sites, packing out what you pack in, and using off highway vehicles only in designated areas.  Reducing our use of non-renewable resources like coal, oil, sand and gravel can also help conserve both the resource and the land.  Using common sense is the best protection and sets an example which others can follow.

Practice Land Management:  Soil conservation is the basis of good land management and is very important in agriculture.  A healthy supply of nutrients in the soil can be maintained by leaving stubble and other organic matter on the fields so that these nutrients can be recycled into the soil.

Farmers can rotate crops, keep stubble on fields after harvest, plant crops perpendicular to prevailing winds and erect shelterbelts to protect the soil form erosion.  Farmers are encouraged to prevent overgrazing, not to burn, and practice zero and minimum till farming.  Local agriculture offices  can provide information on new and existing techniques which can save time and money and contribute to land conservation.

You can also manage your own urban land.  You can use fewer herbicides and pesticides, compost your yard and food wastes, and water the lawn efficiently.  If you wish to be even more creative, plant native species or replace your traditional lawn with other forms of groundcover.

Reprinted from Focus On Land Reclamation  (1999) with permission of Alberta Environment.

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