It results in the progressive down-slope movement of soil, causing severe soil loss on upper-slope positions and accumulation in lower-slope positions. Erosion is a process that causes the soil surface to wear out; geological erosion is caused naturally by water, wind or gravity, and accelerated erosion is caused by human use of land. Completed construction can also contribute to erosion (Figure 6). Soil erosion is a major driver of desertification. Once you know why your soil is eroding, you can take the steps to resolve the issue and pacify your neighbor. The transformation of natural ecosystems to pasture lands has largely contributed to increased rates of soil erosion and the loss of soil nutrients and the top soil. The tree roots hold the soil together and the tree canopy protects the soil from hard falling rain. Figure 4. 3. Activities that remove vegetation, disturb the ground, or allow the ground to dry are activities that increase erosion. Causes of Soil Erosion: Soil erosion is also referred to as the creeping death. Why Do White Rabbits Have Red Eyes? Agricultural practices such as burning and clearing of vegetation also reduce the overall vegetation cover. Luxury Landscape Supply explains the four common causes of soil erosion below. How Does Photosynthesis Take Place in Desert Plants? Farming activities such as tillage also significantly contribute to soil erosion. All soils undergo soil erosion, but some are more vulnerable than others due to human activities and other natural causal factors. Soil structure and composition is another factor that determines erosivity of wind or rainfall. Soil erosion usually happens in overly disturbed soil systems especially with unfavorable weather conditions. The various factors of soil erosion are: 1. Depending on the type of force, erosion can happen quickly or take thousands of years. Wind is also a leading cause of soil erosion because wind can pick up soil and blow it far away. The water flowing in the rivers and streams tend to eat away the soils along the water systems leading to a V-shaped erosive activity. When the rivers and streams are full of soil deposits due to sedimentation and the valley levels up with the surface, the water ways begin to wash away the soils at the banks. In some delicate habitats, even hikers’ boots can disturb the ground, so it’s important to stay on the trail (Figure 7). Surface mining disturbs the land (Figure 5) and leaves the soil vulnerable to erosion. Soil erosion is … Slope. Did you have an idea for improving this content? Deforestation and urbanization are some of the human actions that have continued the cycle of soil loss. But, before we go into how to prevent soil erosion, you first need to understand what causes it. Wind erosion happens when wind gusts blow away unsecured soil. Deforestationis a major cause of soil erosion, perhaps the main cause. Soil erosion is a gradual process that occurs when the impact of water or wind detaches and removes soil particles, causing the soil to deteriorate. She loves writing on topics related to space, environment, chemistry, biology, geology and geography. It also sends soil-laden water downstream, which can create heavy layers of sediment that prevent streams and … The water quality of various streams, rivers, and coastal areas has also been deteriorated as a result of soil erosion, eventually affecting the health of the local communities. What causes soil erosion? It happens in the place where soil is not covered by plants. The agricultural plants that often replace the trees cannot hold onto the soil and many of these plants, such as coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybean and wheat, can actually worsen soil erosion. Trees and their roots provide the soil with an anchor, as well as shelter from the wind and rain. Soil erosion can affect infrastructural projects such as dams, drainages, and embankments. Erosion by Water Water is the main cause of erosion on Earth. Deforestation and urbanization destroy the vegetation land cover. Also, exposed subsoil is highly erodible to the forces of water and wind. If the texture is loose that is the soil contains more of small grains and of open structure erodes faster. In some arid and semiarid areas, wind can be the cause of soil erosion too. Figure 5. When vegetation is planted in the ground, the topsoil is shifted, which causes erosion. Figure 3. Some Other Causes of Soil Erosion: 1. In this view, soil erosion has severely threatened the productivity of fertile cropping areas as they are continually degraded. This form of erosion is a major delivery mechanism for water erosion. Of course, winter is also the stormy season in many locations, so wind and rain are available to wash soil away. There are many different forces in nature that cause erosion. (a) The bare areas of farmland are especially vulnerable to erosion. Silt can smother the breeding grounds of fish and equally lessens their food supply since the siltation reduces the biodiversity of algal life and beneficial aquatic plants. http://www.ck12.org/earth-science/Soil-Erosion/lesson/Soil-Erosion-HS-ES/?referrer=featured_content. In the absence of plants, Soil can be carried away easily by a strong wind and water. Erosion will often occur after rock has been disintegrated or altered through weathering. The consequences of soil erosion are primarily centered on reduced agricultural productivity as well as soil quality. The outward and downward movements of sediments and rocks on slanting or slope surfaces due to gravitational pull qualify as an important aspect of the erosion process. What is a Habitat and Reasons For Habitat Loss and Destruction? Tillage erosion is the redistribution of soil through the action of tillage and gravity (Figure 8). lower end of this field is an indicator of sheet erosion. Water. In other words, soil erosion is the removal of the most fertile top layer of soil through water, wind and tillage. What is Soil Conservation and What are Various Ways To Conserve Soil? What Is Soil Erosion? As a result, the lack of land cover causes increased rates of soil erosion. When forests are wiped out, the land becomes exposed, leaving it vulnerable to being washed or blown away by elements. The causes of soil erosion are directly related to improper landuse, and are, therefore, entirely man-made. Water runs off the parking lot onto nearby lands and speeds up erosion in those areas. Soil erosion is a gradual process of movement and transport of the upper layer of soil (topsoil) by different agents – particularly water, wind, and mass movement – causing its deterioration in the long term. This leads to water pollution and damage to marine and freshwater habitats. (b) This coal mine in West Virginia covers more than 10,000 acres (15.6 square miles). Erodibility of soil. The carrying away of dry soil and loose sand particles is known as deflation. Rapidly moving stormwater, flashfloods, and flooding may also occur because of excess surface water runoff, thus, causing extreme local erosion by plucking bed rocks, forming rock cut-basins, creating potholes, and washing away the loosened soil particles. In some locations soil erosion may occur about 10 times faster than its natural rate. Distribution of rainfall and landscape: If the ground surface is such that rainfall distributes evenly, … Figure 6. Causes of Soil Erosion: Various agents, like wind, water, deforestation, overgrazing by cattle, and etc., cause soil erosion. The type of soil moreover affects the potentiality of the occurrence of soil erosion. We’d love your input. Soil erosion is as natural as any other type of erosion, but human activities have greatly accelerated soil erosion. Many of the tropical forests that remain are currently the site of logging because North America and Europe have already harvested many of their trees (Figure 4). … High winds can contribute to soil erosion, particularly in dry weather periods or in the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) regions. Agriculture is probably the most significant activity that accelerates soil erosion because of the amount of land that is farmed and how much farming practices disturb the ground (Figure 1). Causes of Soil Erosion Various agents, like wind, water, deforestation, overgrazing by cattle, etc., cause soil erosion. These occur more often when the land is not covered with grass or plants. Grazing animals (Figure 2) wander over large areas of pasture or natural grasslands eating grasses and shrubs. Tillage action moves soil to convergent areas of a field where surface water runoff concentrates. (b) Slash-and-burn agriculture leaves land open for soil erosion and is one of the leading causes of soil erosion in the world. It gradually transforms a habitable land and the ASAL regions into deserts. Water and wind moving across the surface of the soil always carry away some of the soil.If the erosion processes remove top-soil only as rapidly as top-soils formed from the parent material beneath, no harm results. Hence, wind erosion is a major source of soil degradation and desertification. The agents of soil erosion are the same as the agents of all types of erosion: water, wind, ice, or gravity. Why are National Parks Important and How Do They Help the Environment? The accumulation of soil and crop debris at the. (a) ATVs churn up the soil, accelerating erosion. Common Causes of Soil Erosion #1. Running water is one of the main cause of soil erosion. If too many animals graze the same land area, the animals’ hooves pull plants out by their roots. Overstocking and overgrazing has led to reduced ground cover and break down of the soil particles, giving room for erosion and accelerating the erosive effects by wind and rain. Constructing buildings and roads churns up the ground and exposes soil to erosion. (And Which Foods Do They Actually Like), How Do Birds Mate? What are Natural Resources, Types and Threats to Natural Resources. Although soil erosion is a natural occurrence on all land, there are certain factors that call accelerate erosion making it more noticeable and problematic. The problem may become so severe that the land can no longer be cultivated and must be abandoned. (b) Hiking trails may become eroded. It is this layer of soil that is endangered by wind and water erosion. Due to Soil Texture. Up and down field tillage practices as well create pathways for surface water runoff and can speed up the soil erosion process. Soil erosion is a natural process which has increasingly been exacerbated by human activities such as agriculture and deforestation. Grazers expose soil by removing the plant cover for an area. Soil erosion from surface water runoff often causes serious damage to roads and tracks, especially if stabilizing techniques are not used. Even deforestation or reduced vegetation caused by things like forest fires are sometimes unavoidable. It is severe during the times of drought in the ASAL regions. Wind causes erosion of rock particles driven by soil and sand particles that are not tightly glued together and not insulated by vegetation. The wearing away of the topsoil is driven by erosion agents including the natural physical forces of wind and water, each contributing a substantial quantity of soil loss annually. The soil that is most likely to erode is the nutrient-rich topsoil, which degrades the farmland. The process is triggered by various phenomena taking place on the planet, ranging from slow-moving ice bodies in the glacial mountains, to landslides caused by earthquakes. So erosion removes topsoil, but how? Soil erosion is more likely where the ground has been disturbed by agriculture, grazing animals, logging, mining, construction, and recreational activities. Logging exposes large areas of land to erosion. This means most of the environmental problems the world face today arises from soil erosion. The agents of soil erosion are the same as of other types of erosion: water, ice, wind, and gravity. Soil erosion eats away the top soil which is the fertile layer of the land and also the component that supports the soil’s essential microorganisms and organic matter. The leaves and canopy of big, tall trees protects the soil from wind and rain. Runoff washes away the soil particles from sloping and bare lands while wind blows … Here are few of the major causes of soil erosion. 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