Fast paced and multi-faceted development and ever increasing population has created tremendous pressure on land to provide basic requirement essential for survival. To meet these requirements, the limited natural resources are being over-exploited resulting in widespread eco-system degradation. Meghalaya too is highly susceptible to acute soil erosion problems due to its undulating topography and high intensity rainfall. The primitive and destructive cultivation practices like jhum and bun also enhances these degenerative trends. Further rampant deforestation, wild fires, extensive grazing, unscientific mining and quarrying etc., are adversely affecting the overall ecological condition of the State.
It is evident, therefore, that combating the degradation of our natural resources especially soil, water and vegetation and investing in their conservation for future generation will be a major practical task promoting sustainable development and nature protection. The application of modern scientific techniques and development of new methodologies to overcome the widespread problem of soil degradation has become imperative to protect cultivable and uncultivable lands from the ravages of erosion; to enhance and restore soil productivity; to reverse degradative trends and to restore degraded soil.
In this context, the Soil & Water Conservation Department in the State, a major Department in the State has been playing a commendable role in the conservation of natural resources particularly soil, water and vegetation. The efforts and programmes of the Department are aimed not only at providing soil cover to mitigate accumulated soil erosion, but also at providing the rural and farming communities with basic amenities, infrastructures and incentives for creating sustainable alternative farming systems with a view to wean them away from the destructive traditional methods of cultivation as well as uplifting the socio-economic status at large.