Soil Erosion/ causes and measures to reduce it
Soil Erosion is the process that erodes, breaks or gradually diminishes things down. The process of erosion usually takes place on the surface of soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth’s crust and with the help of the wind or water flow, it gets to settle down at another location.
Soil Erosion is one form of soil degradation. It occurs in almost all types of lands. Flowing water, rainwater, and the wind are the prime agents which cause a significant amount of soil loss each year. Too much of soil erosion causes serious loss of topsoil and also reduces crop production potential, lower surface water quality, and damaged drainage networks.
Types of Soil Erosion
One of the most important things that we can do to ensure the health of our crops and nearby ecosystems is to reduce soil erosion. The different soil erosion types are explained below.
- Rain Drop or Splash Erosion- The erosion due to the impact of falling raindrops on soil surface leading to the destruction of the crumb structure is known as the raindrop or splash erosion.
- Sheet Erosion- It is the uniform removal of soil in thin layers from the land surface caused by the wind. Land areas with loose, shallow topsoil overlie compact soil are most prone to sheet erosion
- Rill Erosion- Rill erosion is a form of water erosion in which the erosion takes places through numerous narrow and more or not so straight channels called streamlets, or head cuts. Rill is the most common form of erosion, which you can also observe during heavy rain.
- Gully Erosion- Gully erosion occurs due to the runoff of surface water causing the removal of soil with drainage lines. Gullies, when started once, will move by headward erosion or even by slumping of side walls unless and until proper steps are taken in order to stabilize the disturbance.
- Stream Bank Erosion- Bank erosion is nothing but washing up away from banks of a stream or a river. It is different from the erosion of the bed of a watercourse, that is referred to as scouring. This type of erosion is also termed as Stream Bank Erosion.
Causes of Soil Erosion
Running water is one of the main cause of soil erosion. Some soil erosion causes are mentioned below.
- Due to Soil Texture- If the texture is loose that is the soil contains more of small grains and of open structure erodes faster.
- Slope- Soil present in a steeper slope more than the soil present at a plane level of the ground.
- Rainfall- More intense rain, more erosion. This can be a bit slow if there are more trees present in the land as the roots of the plants hold soil in a firm manner.
- Human Activities- Agricultural practices, deforestation, roads and urbanization and global warming are a few major causes of
- soil erosion.
- Deforestation- Mismanaged utilization of soil resources like the removal of forest cover causes soil erosion heavily. Due to increasing land demand, the human is more into deforesting lands. Tree roots act as a binder of the top layer of the soil.
You can reduce soil erosion by
- Reduce soil erosion. Keep it planted and mulched.
- Soil erosion is a concern not only for its impacts on plant growth, but also for its impacts to water quality. Soil is a valuable natural resource that nourishes and supports plant growth among many other things. When soil is left bare and exposed, wind and water can erode it.
- Sediments that are transported to storm drains and surface waters can choke aquatic life and increase water temperatures. Various pollutants such as bacteria, nutrients and heavy metals may also be attached to these sediments, further degrading water quality.
- 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 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.