Preventing Soil Erosion

Soil Erosion is the removal of topsoil through the action of various agents such as water, wind, animals and human activities. It is a natural process and is responsible for shaping the landscapes around us. Yet, when removal of topsoil is faster than its natural rate of formation it can raise severe concerns. Anthropogenic activities such as over grazing, deforestation, mechanized agriculture, overgrazing, etc. can aggravate this problem. It can make fertile lands barren. It can even lead to desertification, acidification of land, land contamination and even floods.

It is a very serious problem. Today we are facing major environmental problems such as Global warming, Climate Change, Ecological Imbalance, Extinction of Species, etc. It is time that we take steps to prevent this problem otherwise it can also lead to severe consequences. The best way to tackle this problem is through soil conservation.

Soil conservation can be achieved through various ways. Such as:

Plant Vegetation: You can grow herbs, shrubs, bushes and trees to deal with this problem effectively. You can grow indigenous plants that can survive easily in your area. You can even opt for exotic plants after identifying their needs for survival. The roots of herbs, shrubs, bushes and trees hold soil and negate the eroding effects of wind and water. They also help in increasing the fertility of the soil. Besides, they provide shelter to insects, birds and animal. Hence help in preserving the ecological balance.

Planting Wind-Barriers: You can plant trees on the windward side of your land. High winds are one of the most prominent causes that lead to erosion of soil. Wind-barriers can counter the effect of high winds and help in soil conservation. Apart from trees you can even use shrubs, bushes or plastic fences as wind-barriers.

Lay Mulch: You can lay mulch to conserve soil. It prevents the direct exposure of top soil to agents of erosion. It also helps in keeping the soil damp and moist. You can also use organic mulch that can be made from plant remains and animal faeces. Using Mulch offers three benefits. Firstly, it maintains optimum moisture level in the soil. Secondly, it protects the topsoil from the direct attack of eroding agents. Thirdly, It helps in maintaining optimum soil temperature.

Conservation Tillage: You can use conservation tillage in your agricultural farms and gardens. This can be done by using plants or plant parts as boundary or cover for soil. You can use grass or plants such as rye or clover. They help by covering the surface of the soil and thus preventing erosion. Conservation tillage also helps in improving the physical and biological quality of soil.

 Contour Farming: It is the best way for conserving soil in hilly areas. In this method, the plants are grown on slopes in order to minimize the effect of water, wind and other forces of erosion.

 Sediment Control: You can practice sediment control by building diversion dikes, sediment bases, sediment traps, and silt fences. These structures can save the soil from erosion.

 You can practice any of the above methods depending on your requirements.

Soil Erosion

Soil erosion happens naturally. Water and wind have always washed soil down rivers and to the sea, whittling away at the arable land in one place so that nature can make more somewhere else. Where human activity is concerned, this otherwise natural phenomena can unfortunately proceed much more quickly than would be natural. Accelerated by issues like improper landscaping or overused farmland, this kind of erosion can result in considerable human and economic damage.

What leads to erosion?

Water or wind are inevitably the causes of soil erosion. Flowing across soil or meadows, water may etch deep ravines or turn hillsides into catastrophic waves of mud. Wind can pick up exposed soil and carry it hundreds of miles, making useless dust where previously productive farmland used to be. As water flows faster and wind picks up speed, the amount of damage goes up. If plants stand in their path, they slow down or stop — and do far less harm as a result.

What kind of erosion is caused by water?

Flowing water tends to be responsible for tunnel, gully, stream bank, or sheet and rill erosion.

Tunnel erosion is subsurface erosion that happens when water carves out routes in the soil as it makes its way through burrows, root channels, and cracks.

Gully erosion is characterized by sharp-edged channels cut at least a half-meter deep in the land. It’s caused by surface water flows concentrating together and etching the land as they go.

Stream bank erosion happens when sudden or intermittent peak flows in a creek or stream make the stream cut wider and deeper channels through the land.

Sheet and rill can be caused by both water and wind. Rain, wind, or shallow water flows may all strip away surface soil. If the water creates a channel deeper than a half meter, it’s called a gully. Channels less than a half-meter are referred to as rills.

What kind of erosion is caused by wind?

Blowing wind generally causes wind and coastal erosion, but may also be responsible for sheet and rill erosion as mentioned previously.

Wind erosion is a catch-all term for the erosion that occurs mostly in farming, where soil components blow away from spots where the wind can access the fragile surface directly.

Coastal erosion is a sub-type of wind erosion that occurs on the coast, when vegetation leaves sand dunes exposed to the wind.

What can you do to stop and prevent erosion?

Plants are the best measure against soil erosion. They act to shield the land from the scouring action of wind and water, by slowing down either. Plant roots fix soil to the spot and help keep it from washing away. When raindrops fall, plant leaves break their impact and reduce the raindrops’ ability to remove soil. In wetlands, the plants may be all that prevents soil from washing away immediately.

Whether you’re looking to hold your front yard in place or ensure a healthy place to plant your crops, making sure plants are always growing on the soil will preserve it for years to come. You can get even better results by encouraging diversity and allowing native plants to flourish: indigenous plants are better adapted to the land and will do more to preserve it.