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What is Soil Erosion?

Soil erosion is the displacement of the upper layer of soil, it is a form of soil degradation. It occurs in almost all types of lands. Flowing water, rainwater, and wind are the prime agents which cause a significant amount of soil loss each year. Too much soil erosion causes serious loss of topsoil and also reduces crop production potential, lower surface water quality, and damaged drainage networks.

Causes of Soil Erosion

  • Due to Soil Texture: If the texture is loose that is the soil contains more small grains and the open structure erodes faster.
  • Wind: When strong winds blow, the topsoil along with the organic matter is carried away by the wind. This happens more often when the land is not covered with grass or plants. Such conditions are very common in desert and semi-desert regions where strong winds blow very frequently.
  • Slope: Soil present in a steeper slope more than the soil present at a plane level of the ground.
  • Intensity or Amount of 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 firmly hold soil.
  • 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, human is more into deforesting lands. Tree roots act as a binder of the top layer of the soil.

Soil Erosion

Types of Soil Erosion

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Rill Erosion: Rill erosion is a form of water erosion in which the erosion takes place 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.
  4. 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 will be taken to stabilize the disturbance.
  5. Stream Bank Erosion: Bank erosion is nothing but washing up away from the banks of a stream or a river. This type of erosion is also termed Stream Bank Erosion

Effects of Soil Erosion

  • Loss of Arable Land.
  • Clogging of Waterways.
  • Air Pollution.
  • Desertification.
  • Destruction of Infrastructure.

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