Erosion Of Soil: What Is This And How Can It Be Prevented?

Soil supports the vegetation on our planet that makes it irreplaceable. Wind, water and various extreme weather conditions cause soil erosion. This process is the loss of the top fertile layer.

Deterioration of land quality and fertility due to human activities became a severe problem in the 20th century, which is still unresolved. However, it is crucial to address this problem because erosive processes and degradation negatively affect global food security and the environment. 

Soil cultivation

When there is no plant cover, the soil tends to dry up and become loose, which makes it vulnerable to main types of erosion. Hill plowing and other improper farming practices can also become a reason for this process, as they increase the velocity of water flowing down the slope. 

Causes of Soil Erosion

Land degradation occurs in urban and rural areas all over the planet. Even natural areas with intact soil are not immune to this threat. Climate, weather conditions and other natural factors can cause erosion along with human activities.  Sometimes the health of the soil is negatively affected by several factors at once. 

Erosive processes often occur as a result of heavy rainfall. Water flows erode the land, dispersing soil constituents and disturbing soil structure. Lightweight materials, including sand and silt, are most sensitive to the effects of rainfall runoff. However, this can also happen to denser soils depending on the rainfall intensity. 

Wind erosion happens in dry and barren areas where vegetation does not hold the soil in place. Strong winds leave behind soils devoid of nutrients that cannot support living vegetation. The situation is also complicated because desertification may occur in the long term.

Agricultural activities deplete the soil over time, so it is important to move to more sustainable practices. Growers should take care to have organic matter available. The top layer of decomposed leaves or other vegetation limits the effects of weather events on the soil. In addition, organic matter supports the formation of aggregates, the most essential structural component of stable soils.

Overgrazing also provokes erosive process. When numerous animals consume from the exact location, the vegetation cannot replenish itself naturally and eventually perishes. Animals can cause repeated damage to vegetation and soil if they are in a large area, leading to further site degradation. However, it can also make it easier for plants to regenerate.

Mining, an activity that has contributed to the growth of our economies, has caused significant damage to our planet and destroyed many precious habitats. Large areas of land remain entirely altered by removing vegetation and topsoil. Waste from deep layers rises to the surface, and various mineral deposits form a toxic cocktail when exposed to water and oxygen. It also leads to erosion, degradation and destruction of the landscape. 

Types of Soil Erosion

The soil becomes loose when it rains, and water can't easily seep into it. It causes runoff that carries away the topsoil, essential for plant growth. Poorly planned irrigation and melting snow can also lead to water erosion. 

The erosive process can also occur as a consequence of the effect of wind on the ground. This type of erosion is widespread in arid and desolated areas. This problem becomes particularly acute when large flat areas lack barriers against strong wind gusts.

Floodplain erosion is a hazard for agricultural enterprises located near water bodies. Of course, there are many advantages to finding farms in such areas, including no irrigation problems and higher yields. 

Effects of Soil Erosion

For farming lands, the main negative consequence of erosion is a reduction in field productivity and quality. Pollution and blockage of pathways can also degrade water quality. Soils lose their properties that make it possible to grow crops. This leads to ecological collapse and starvation. 

What is soil erosion for the environment? It is the cause of pollution of water bodies and the creation of runoff containing pesticides and fertilizer residues. Contaminated water poisons fish, entering lakes and rivers and drinking water sources. It threatens flora, fauna and human health in the surrounding areas. 

Wind erosion raises soil dust particles, which also causes air pollution. Oil, fertilizer components and pesticides in dust are also a threat to human and animal health. 

How to Prevent Soil Erosion and Control It

Plants with deep roots hold the soil in place and help minimize the effects of extreme weather and prevent erosion. In areas prone to such processes, including riverbanks and other water bodies, it is recommended to plant trees and grasses. 

Fencing can also be used on the banks of water bodies. This method involves laying stones on slopes to prevent water runoff. In this way, you can cover the soil, stabilizing the surface and reducing the negative impact of weather conditions on the land. It is recommended to use large stones. 

Terracing has been used to cultivate crops in hilly terrain for several thousand years. This method helps to retain nutrients and prevent runoff. Slopes are turned into terraces to reduce the risk of erosion. 

The use of mulching material prevents washing away and soil erosion. Mulching does not require growing plants on the plot. This method helps to retain moisture and stabilize soil temperature. In this way, the soil can be protected from the effects of weather conditions. 

Plants such as clover, lentils and barley are called cover crops. Growing these crops helps protect the soil from the effects of rainfall, wind, etc. Cover crops are planted between cash crops to maintain soil health and prevent negative processes, including erosion. 

EOSDA Crop Monitoring & Soil Erosion

EOS Data Analytics, providing reliable satellite imagery analytics, has developed a software product for precision farming. EOSDA Crop Monitoring. It is an online platform rich in features helpful in monitoring the condition of fields and effectively managing farmland. This technological solution enables the timely detection of threats and provides an integrated approach to crop protection.

Low-yielding and degrading soils often require additional fertilization. Productivity maps created with EOSDA Crop Monitoring enable determining the fertilizer needed for each field area. Based on the maps, farmers can apply variable rate fertilization.

Monitoring the short-term effects of erosive processes and degradation is also important. Vegetation indices help to analyze and monitor the development of plants. They also allow you to create maps and receive regular updates on the status of the fields. All this helps to take care of the health of plants and soil and increase efficiency.

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