Erosion is the gradual wearing away of the Earth’s surface by the action of wind, water, and ice, and the depositing of this material elsewhere. The agents of erosion are water, ice, wind, temperature, plants, animals, humans, and anthropogenic (man-made) processes.
In some cases the erosion of solid rock occurs by the removal of particles by chemical or mechanical means (for example, solutions eating away at rock, or the wind carrying sand grains away and depositing them elsewhere); in other cases such as with soils, life on the land plays an important role in the process.
Soil erosion is one of the biggest environmental problems in the world today, because it’s hard to see, and easy to forget about.
Unlike air pollution where a factory or smokestack is a telltale sign of pollution, soil erosion is a phenomenon that you can’t see from the surface, and that can be difficult to track down to its source.
But if you’re an agriculturalist, or even someone who wants to protect the long-term health of your soil, the signs of soil erosion are hard to miss.
The Causes and Effects of Soil Erosion
There are many causes of soil erosion. The most common are wind and water. Wind erosion happens in areas that are not protected by trees or other plants. The wind blows the soil away. Erosion can happen in small or large amounts, depending on the size of the area exposed to the wind.
Another type of erosion is water erosion. Water erosion happens when water washes away the soil. Some of the causes of water erosion are rain, ice, and snow. Plants help slow down the rate of erosion.
Rainfall and Runoff
Whenever we talk about the causes of soil erosion, there’s one thing we can all agree on. The main cause of soil erosion is rainfall. The physical process of raindrop impact results in the dislodging of soil particles. This leaves the soil more vulnerable to surface runoff, which transports the eroded soil to lower areas and to watercourses.
The effects of water on soil erosion are many and varied, but what are the causes of soil erosion? While there are many factors involved in soil erosion, the primary causes of soil erosion are rainfall and runoff. Rainfall and runoff are the dominant forces involved in the erosion process.
When water from rain or snowmelt runs over the Earth’s surface, it can erode and move soil, rock and other materials from one place to another. Soil erosion is a natural process that can help to shape the landscape.
However, when it occurs faster than the rate at which new soil can form, it can lead to problems. The most damaging form of soil erosion is called “water erosion”, which is caused by rainfall.
Slope Gradient and Length
The slope gradient and length of a slope is considered as the main cause of soil erosion. This problem happens because water, that falls on higher areas, flows to lower areas along the slope.
If slope gradient is steep, water flows easily along the slope making soil loose. This loose soil is carried away by water and deposited on lower areas.
Remember that the steepness of the slope has a direct relationship with soil erosion. A steep slope will have a high gradient, which results in a higher volume of water running down it, creating more erosive forces.
However, a shallow slope has a low gradient, and a low velocity of runoff, which means that erosion is likely to be negligible.
The length of a slope can also affect the potential for erosion. A long slope allows for a lot of surface area to be exposed, and an extended length of land means that water can continue to run down it for longer.
This can increase the potential for soil erosion.
Construction and Recreational Activities
Soil erosion is the removal of soil by water or wind. It is a serious problem in commercial farming, and the erosion of soil that results from farming can be very detrimental to the long-term health of the land.
However, a lot of people may not realize that erosion can also be caused by non-construction projects. For example, over-farming, which is intensive farming, can result in soil erosion.
Construction and recreational activities are the main causes of soil erosion. Soil erosion is the wearing away of the topsoil and subsoil due to the natural movement of water and wind.
As a result, wind and water can carry the soil away from the area, which is usually caused by wind or water. Soil erosion is usually caused by agricultural, recreational and construction activities.
Soil Erosion is Also Caused by Overgrazing, Which Causes Floods too
Overgrazing is one of the principal causes of soil erosion. Overgrazing occurs when a piece of land is overused by livestock. Overgrazing can be caused by a number of factors, including short-term climatic changes, changes in the amount of land available, and the loss of plant species.
Overgrazing is a particular problem in arid lands, grasslands, and rangelands. Overgrazing can lead to desertification.
Agrochemicals Cause Soil Erosion and Degradation
Farmers have been using chemical fertilizers and pesticides to help with the development of crops for as long as they have been farming. Farmers need to understand that these chemicals pollute the environment, but most of them are only concerned with growing high-yielding crops.
This is all well and good, but they need to understand that this is only an immediate effect. In the long run, the chemicals they spread on their crops will cause soil erosion and degradation, and floods. Of course, everyone is well aware of the floods.
The current method of treating the soil to promote plant growth isn’t sustainable, and as a result, we are losing valuable agricultural land to erosion.
It is the same chemicals we use to kill weeds and pests in our fields that also cause the soil to erode, but not only that, it is the chemicals that cause soil degradation which reduces the fertility of the soil.
Soil erosion is a natural process that can occur as a result of wind, water or ice. It is one of the most important factors in agriculture and it is the main cause of land degradation around the world. Although soil erosion is a natural process, human activities can greatly accelerate it.