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SOIL

EROSION

WHAT IS SOIL EROSION?


Soil erosion is the dislodgement of soil particles
or the wearing away of the earths surface by
the action of water , wind etc. Soil erosion is a
natural process but becomes an issue when the
rate at which the soil particles are lost is faster
than the rate at which they are replaced. This is
called accelerated erosion and is caused by
human impact such as over-grazing, poor
agricultural practices etc.

Types Of Erosion
There are two (2) types of erosion, namely:
Geologic Erosion
Geological erosion goes on continuously, it
causes the wearing down of land masses providing
material for soil formation essentially therefore it is
influenced by climate, soil properties, vegetation
and topography.
Accelerated Erosion
This type of erosion is brought about by man
usually in his attempt to produce crop from the
land or to clear the land for commercial or
industrial purposes in so doing he exposes the land
to one or more of the agents of erosion.

Agents of Soil Erosion


Wind
Water
Animals
Man

Soil Layer

What are the causes of Soil


Erosion?

Natural Factors
Water Erosion
Wind
Steep slopes
Climatic Changes
Human Induced-Factors
Deforestation
Poor Farm Practises
Animal Induced Factor
Over Grazing

Water Erosion
Water erosion is the dislodgement,
transportation & deposition of soil particles by
the force of water from one location to
another.

Forms of Water Erosion


Splash Erosion
First stage of soil erosion process. When
raindrops hit bare soil, it loosens soil particles
and water transport them downhill.

Sheet Erosion

Sheet erosion is the removal of soil in thin layers


by raindrop impact . It results in loss of the finest
soil particles that contain most of the available
nutrients and organic
matter in the soil.
Soils most vulnerable to sheet erosion are
overgrazed and cultivated soils where there is little
vegetation to protect and hold the soil.
Early signs of sheet erosion include bare areas,
water puddling as soon as
rain falls, visible grass
roots, exposed tree roots, and exposed subsoil or
stony soils.

Rill Erosion
Rill erosion is erosion that results in small,
short-lived and well-defined streams. When
rainfall does not soak into the soil, it can
gather on the surface and runs downhill,
forming small channels of water called rills. A
rill will dry up after the rainfall, but you may
still see the stream bed that was created by
the temporary stream.

Gully Erosion
Gully Erosion are advanced rill erosion. If rill
erosions are not addressed they grow into
gully erosions.

Wind
Wind erosion is the detachment and movement of
soil particles by air moving.
Wind moves the soil in two ways, suspension and
saltation. Suspension occurs when the wind lifts
finer particles into the air leading to dust storms.
Saltation occurs when the wind lifts larger particles
off the ground for short distances, leading to sanddrifts.
Wind erosion tends to occur most in low rainfall
areas when soil moisture content is at wilting point
or below.

Climate Changes
rainfall: when rainfall becomes more
severe, erosion increases rapidly.
drought: Drought can cause soil erosion due
to the effects of wind and flooding. Moreover,
the drying out of soil causes cracks which
reduce the volume of the soil.
changing winds: areas previously sheltered
become exposed

Steep Slope
Cultivating along steep slopes results in
gully erosion taking place.

Human Induced Factors


Deforestation is the full or large scale
removal of a forest, or areas of trees
transforming it in to clear land for human
development. This leaves the soil bare or
exposed which becomes prone to erosion by
wind and water.

Poor Farm Practises


Ploughing- when farmers use machines for
ploughing on the farm it squashes the soil
creating channels for rapid water run-off.
Monoculture/Fertilizers-Monoculture leads to
exhaustion of certain minerals from the soil
making it infertile, bare and leading to soil
erosion
Monoculture leads to the loosening of soil
particles thereby encouraging soil erosion.

Adding fertilizer increases the acidity of the


soil/changes the PH of the soil. The acidity
destroys the micro-organisms in the soil,
which could have helped in the formation of
humus, which binds soil particles together
Acidic soils are unsuitable for various crops,
which could have helped protect the soils
from erosion

Burning destroys micro-organisms which are


essential for the formation of humus, which bind soil
particles together.
Burning destroys vegetable matter that protects
the soil against erosion
Burning destroys the nitrogen fixing bacteria
making the soil less fertile
Burning loosens the soil making it susceptible to
erosion/leaching which drains away soluble mineral
nutrients
At the top, soluble minerals come into contact
with insoluble ones

Overgrazing
When farmers allow too much animals to
graze an area of land, it damages the soil
structure and removes its cover making it
bare and exposed to erosion by wind/water.

Effects of erosion

Increase in number of channels across land.


The settling of muddy water at lower
surfaces of the land.
The exposure of roots of trees and shrubs.
Landslides loss of houses, lives etc.
The blocking of drains and ditches which
leads to flooding.
Reduction of soil fertility, resulting in
decrease in crop yield.

Solution to Soil Erosion

Reforestation
Rotational grazing