Causes of Soil Erosion
Soil Erosion Effects
Although soil erosion is a natural occurrence on all land, there are certain factors that call accelerate erosion making it more noticeable and problematic. While there are many different factors that can cause soil erosion, most can be broken down into two main categories:
- Erosion by Water
- Erosion by Wind
Erosion by Water
- Rainfall Intensity and Runoff: The impact of raindrops will break up the soil and water build-up will create runoff, taking sediment with it.
- Soil Erodability: Based on the characteristics of each unique soil, it is more or less susceptible to erosion. Recurring erosion is more typical for soil in areas that have experienced erosion in the past.
- Slope Gradient and Length: The steeper the slope, the greater amount of soil can be lost. As the soil erodes downward, it increases the slope degree, which in turn, creates further erosion.
- Vegetation: Vegetative cover of plants or crop residues protect the soil from raindrop impact and splash. The less vegetation cover, the more erosion can occur.
Effects of Soil Erosion
The loss of natural nutrients and possible fertilizers directly affect crop emergence, growth, and yield. Seeds can be disturbed or removed and pesticides can be carried off. The soil quality, structure, stability, and texture are also affected, which in turn affect the holding capacity of the soil.
What is not often seen are the off-site effects. Eroded soil can inhibit the growth of seeds, bury seedlings, contribute to road damage, and even contaminate water sources and recreational areas.
Erosion by Wind
Factors and Causes of Soil Erosion
- Erodability of Soil: The finest particles are transported by the wind, while the heavier particles are blown across the surface causing abrasion.
- Soil Surface Roughness: Soil surfaces that are not rough offer little resistance to wind erosion. Excess tillage can contribute to the breakdown of soil.
- Climate: Soil moisture levels at the surface can become extremely low in times of drought, increasing particles to be carried by the wind. Conversely, this effect can occur in freezing climates as well.
- Un-Sheltered Distance: The lack of windbreaks allows wind to transport particles a farther distance, increasing abrasion and erosion.
- Vegetative Cover: Lack of permanent vegetation creates loose, dry, and barren soil that is perfect for wind transport.
Effects of Soil Erosion
Crops can be completely ruined, resulting in delay and reseeding, which is costly. Plants could become sandblasted resulting in a decreased yield. Soil drifting depletes fertility and continual drifting can change the texture of soil.
Products for Erosion - See how these products can be implemented to help with various erosion problems around the world.
Questions? Our GEI Works product specialists will be happy to support you. Call 1-772-646-0597 to discuss the causes of soil erosion.