What is soil erosion: causes and consequences

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Soil erosion is known as the process that occurs naturally when rocks and soil detach from the earth's surface and move to another site, especially by the action of water and wind. Soil erosion is what causes changes in landscapes, a process that can be very slow, of thousands of years, or that can be accelerated through human activities such as mining or agriculture.

Do you want to know everything about this phenomenon? Do you want us to explain what is soil erosion, its causes and consequences and some of the best examples to understand it? Keep reading this Green Ecology article!

Soil erosion: singif.webpied

It is known as erosion to soil degradation terrestrial through the action of natural factors, like wind or water, and by the man action. It occurs all over the world, however, in dry or arid areas, where there is not as much vegetation and the soil is much more exposed, it is much faster. Erosion is one of the main actors in the molding and modification of the shape of the land.

Erosion consists of the movement of rocks, or their pieces, sand or dust from one place to another, either by wind, gravity itself, or water. For example, rivers carry sediment from the mountains, be it small pieces of rock, sand, or dust. During its course they are dragged and finally deposited in another place, changing the physiognomy of the landscape.

Causes of soil erosion

The causes of soil erosion can be many and varied. Some are natural, such as droughts, the action of wind or water, while others are the result of human action, such as deforestation, mining or agriculture. Here we explain some of the main causes of soil erosion:

  • Water erosion: it is the erosion caused by the movement of water, in its many forms: the rain that breaks the earth, the currents of the rivers, the beating of the rain, the dragging or the waves hitting the ground.
  • Eolic erosion: the type of erosion caused by the wind, which carries sand, dust or ash from one place to another. Likewise, the beating of the wind on the rock is wearing it down, shaping its shape.
  • Chemical erosion: Also known as chemical weathering, it is the decomposition and changes in the structure of the rock due to the alterations that occur in oxygen, water or carbon dioxide.
  • Erosion by temperature: it is the one that occurs with processes such as cold, heat or sunlight in rocks and soil. Basically they are those that depend on the temperature and the climate. When temperatures are high, rocks expand and eventually crack, the same happens when rocks freeze and thaw.
  • Gravitational erosion: the one that occurs as a consequence of the action of gravity. Mainly it makes the rocks and stones fall downwards, remaining in the lower areas of the slopes.

Among those that are the product of man action, the main causes of erosion are:

  • Deforestation.
  • Intensive agriculture.
  • Intensive grazing.
  • Artificial irrigation.

Consequences of soil deterioration

It is not difficult to think about the consequences of soil erosion, when the soil deteriorates that particular ecosystem also deteriorates, losing the ecological balance. This causes a reduction in both fauna and flora, gradually losing the fertility of these lands. If it is grown there, it will become increasingly difficult and expensive and, if it is a grazing area, that task will become more complicated. This is the list of consequences of soil erosion and its deterioration:

  • The ecosystem becomes unbalanced, losing many of its endemic species and favoring the growth of opportunistic species.
  • The land is becoming less and less fertile, increasing the use of fertilizers by farmers. In the end, this ends up with a totally useless land for cultivation.
  • Loss of flora and disappearance of species.
  • Loss of moisture provided by flora.
  • Creation of gravel pits and sandbanks in what were once fertile lands.
  • Increased risk of rockslides.
  • Loss of land yield and increased cost of cultivating it.
  • In livestock, the costs of maintaining and feeding the animals increase, as the pastures disappear.
  • The impoverishment of rural populations causes the population to move towards the cities.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is soil erosion: causes and consequences, we recommend that you enter our category of Other environment.

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