MemberJune 22, 2023 at 10:51 am::
What is Soil Erosion?
In this process, the soil particles are loosened or washed away in the valleys, oceans, rivers, streams or far away lands. This has been worsening due to human activities such as agriculture and deforestation.Soil erosion is a continuous process that occurs either slowly or at an alarming rate. It results in a continuous loss of topsoil, ecological degradation, soil collapse, etc
Cause of Soil Erosion
Following are the important causes of soil erosion:
Rainfall and Flooding
Higher intensity of rainstorms is the main cause of soil erosion. Four types of soil erosion are caused by rainfall:
- Rill erosion
- Gully erosion
- Sheet erosion
- Splash erosion
The raindrops disperse the soil, which is then washed away into the nearby streams and rivers. Regions with very heavy and frequent rainfall face a large amount of soil loss. The flowing water during floods also erodes a lot of soil by creating potholes, rock-cut basins, etc.
Effects of Soil Erosion
The major effects of soil erosion include:
Loss of Arable Land
Soil erosion removes the top fertile layer of the soil. This layer is rich in the essential nutrients required by the plants and the soil. The degraded soil does not support crop production and leads to low crop productivity.
Clogging of Waterways
The agricultural soil contains pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and several other chemicals. This pollutes the water bodies where the soil flows.
The sediments accumulate in the water and raise the water levels resulting in flooding.
The dust particles merge in the air, resulting in air pollution. Some of the toxic substances such as pesticides and petroleum can be extremely hazardous when inhaled. The dust plumes from the arid and semi-arid regions cause widespread pollution when the winds move.
Soil erosion is a major factor for desertification. It transforms the habitable regions into deserts. Deforestation and destructive use of land worsens the situation. This also leads to loss of biodiversity, degradation of the soil, and alteration in the ecosystem.
Destruction of Infrastructure
The accumulation of soil sediments in dams and along the banks can reduce their efficiency. Thus, it affects infrastructural projects such as dams, embankments, and drainage.
Soil Erosion Prevention
Soil erosion is a serious environmental issue. Steps should be taken to curb this problem. Following are some of the methods of soil erosion prevention:
- Plant trees on barren lands to limit erosion of soil.
- Add mulch and rocks to prevent the plants and grass underneath to prevent soil erosion.
- Mulch matting can be used to reduce erosion on slopes.
- Put a series of fibre logs to prevent any water or soil from washing away.
- A wall at the base of the slope can help in preventing the soil from eroding.
- Every household should have a proper drainage system so that water flows down into proper water collecting systems.
- Maintaining a healthy, perennial plant cover.
- Planting a cover crop – such as winter rye in vegetable gardens. Includes annual grasses, small grains, legumes and other types of vegetation planted to provide a temporary vegetative cover. Cover crops are often tilled under serving also as a “green manure” crop.
- Placing crushed stone, wood chips, and other similar materials in heavily used areas where vegetation is hard to establish and maintain.
- Using other erosion controls that include the use of geo-textile materials or other methods such as sodding or hydroseeding that result in the establishment of permanent cover. These methods work well on steep slopes and heavy traffic areas. Contact your local landscape contractor or the RI Nursery and Landscape Association.
- Addressing problem areas of that get lots of stormwater runoff. Solutions to these problem areas include redirecting stormwater and roof runoff to areas that can settle and dissipate water, such as a rain garden.