Soil erosion water and wind | Types of soil erosion, causes and protection

Definition of soil erosion

Erosion is the destruction of soil by wind and water, the movement of destruction products and their redeposition. Soil damage (erosion) by water occurs mainly on slopes from which water flows, rain or melt.

Erosion is planar (when the soil is uniformly washed away by water runoff that does not have time to be absorbed), it is jet-like (shallow ravines are formed, which are eliminated by conventional processing), and there is still deep erosion (when it erodes the soil and rocks with strong water flows). Soil destruction by wind, otherwise called deflation, can develop on any type of terrain, even on plains. Deflation is everyday (when winds of low speed lift soil particles into the air and transfer them to other areas), the second type of wind erosion is periodic, that is, dust storms (when winds at high speed lift the entire top layer of soil into the air, it happens even with crops , and carries these masses over long distances).

Types of soil erosion

Depending on the degree of destruction, two types of soil erosion can be distinguished: normal erosion, that is, natural, and accelerated, that is, anthropogenic. The first type of erosion occurs slowly and does not affect soil fertility in any way. Accelerated erosion is closely related to human economic work, that is, the soil is not cultivated correctly, the vegetation cover is disturbed during grazing, deforestation, and so on. With the rapid development of erosion, soil fertility decreases, crops are damaged, agricultural land becomes inconvenient due to ravines, this makes it very difficult to cultivate fields, rivers and reservoirs are flooded. Soil erosion destroys roads, power lines, communications and more. It causes great damage to agriculture.

Soil erosion prevention

For many years, the fight against soil erosion has been one of the important state tasks in the development of agriculture. To solve it, various zonal complexes are being developed that complement each other, for example, organizational and economic, agrotechnical, hydraulic, forest reclamation anti-erosion measures.

A little about each event. Agrotechnical measures include deep cultivation of plots across slopes, sowing, plowing, which alternates every two or three years with conventional plowing, slotting of slopes, spring loosening of the field in strips, grassing of slopes. All this contributes to the regulation of rain and melt water runoff, and, accordingly, significantly reduces soil runoff. In areas where wind erosion is common, instead of plowing, flat-cut tillage is used by cultivators, that is, flat-cutters. This reduces splatter and helps build up more moisture.

In every area that is subject to soil erosion, soil-protective crop rotations play a huge role, and in addition, sowing crops of high-stemmed plants.

In forest reclamation measures, protective forest plantings have a great effect. Forest belts are field-protective, ravine and ravine.

In hydrotechnical measures, terracing is used on very steep slopes. In such places, shafts are built to retain water, and ditches, on the contrary, to remove excess water, fast drains in the channels of hollows and ravines.

Soil protection from erosion

Erosion is considered the biggest socio-economic disaster. It is proposed to follow the following provisions: firstly, it is easier to prevent erosion than to fight it later, eliminating its consequences; there are no soils in the environment that are completely resistant to erosion; due to erosion, changes in the main functions of the soil occur; this process is very complex, the measures taken against it must be comprehensive.

What affects the erosion process?

Any erosion can occur due to such factors:

  • changes in climatic conditions;
  • terrain features;
  • natural disasters;
  • anthropogenic activity.
  • water erosion

    Most often, water erosion occurs on the mountain slopes, as a result of drainage of rain and melt water. According to the intensity, the soil can be washed off in a continuous layer or in separate streams. As a result of water erosion, the top fertile layer of the earth is demolished, which contains rich elements that feed plants. Linear erosion is a more progressive destruction of the earth, when small gullies turn into large pits and ravines. When erosion reaches such proportions, the land becomes unsuitable for agriculture or any other activities.

    What does soil erosion look like?

    wind erosion

    Air masses are able to inflate small particles of the earth and carry them over great distances. With significant wind gusts, the soil can disperse in significant quantities, which leads to weakening of plants, and then to their death. If a wind storm sweeps over a field that is just beginning to sprout crops, they can become covered with a layer of dust and be destroyed. Also wind erosion worsens the fertility of the earth, since the upper layer is destroyed.

    An example of soil wind erosion

    Consequences of soil erosion

    The problem of land erosion is an urgent and acute problem for many countries of the world. Since the fertility of the land directly affects the amount of crops, erosion exacerbates the problem of famine in some regions, as erosion can destroy crops. Erosion also affects the reduction of plants, respectively, this reduces the population of birds and animals. And the worst thing is the complete depletion of the soil, which takes hundreds of years to restore.

    Technique for protecting soil from water erosion

    A phenomenon such as erosion is dangerous for the soil, therefore, complex actions are required to ensure the protection of the land. To do this, you need to regularly monitor the erosion process, draw up special maps and properly plan economic work. Land reclamation work must be carried out taking into account soil protection. Cultures need to be planted in stripes and select a combination of plants that will protect the soil from leaching. An excellent method of protecting the land is to plant trees, creating several forest belts, near the fields. On the one hand, tree plantations will protect crops from precipitation and wind, and on the other hand, they will strengthen the soil and prevent erosion. If there is a slope in the fields, then protective strips of perennial grasses are planted.
    Direct Seeding as a Method to Control Water Erosion in Soils

    Soil protection from wind erosion

    To prevent weathering of the soil and preserve the fertile layer of the earth, it is necessary to carry out certain protective works. To do this, first of all, they carry out crop rotation, that is, they annually change the planting type of crops: one year they grow cereal plants, then perennial grasses. Also, strips of trees are planted against strong winds, which create a natural barrier to air masses and protect crops. In addition, highfast plants can be grown nearby for protection: corn, sunflower. It is required to increase soil moisture in order to accumulate moisture and protect the roots of plants, strengthening them in the ground.

    The following actions will help against all types of soil erosion:

  • construction of special terraces against erosion;
  • sideration technique;
  • planting shrubs in stripes;
  • organization of dams;
  • regulation of the flow of melt water.
  • All of the above methods have different levels of complexity, but they must be used in combination to protect the land from erosion.

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