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Erosion

Brein Mosely

What is Erosion?

Definition: The removal of material from one place and its transport toward another by the action of wind and water.

Deposition: The arrival of eroded material at its new location.

PROS Helps to create soil by depositing

eroded sediment in river, valleys, and deltas.

CONS Erosion rate is too fast for soil

formation. Removes a lot of the topsoil; the most valuable soil layer for living things

Causes Over cultivating fields through poor planning/excessive tilling Overgrazing rangelands with excessive livestock Clearing forests

Types of Erosion

Splash Erosion: When raindrops hit bare soil, breaking up soil particles. This decreases the soil’s ability to take in water.

Sheet Erosion: Water flows in thin sheets over broad surfaces, washing topsoil away in uniform layers

Rill Erosion: Water runs along small furrows, deepening and widening them into channels called rills

Gully Erosion: Cuts deeply into soil, leaving large gullies that expand as erosion expands.

Greatest Potential to Remove Topsoil

1. Rill

2. Sheet

3. Splash

4. Gully

1. 2.
1.
2.
Greatest Potential to Remove Topsoil  1. Rill  2. Sheet  3. Splash  4.
3. 4.
3.
4.
Greatest Potential to Remove Topsoil  1. Rill  2. Sheet  3. Splash  4.

Consequences

47 billion acres suffer from erosion from 1957-1990

Desertification: A loss of more than 10% of productivity due to erosion, soil compaction, forest removal, etc.

Expands desert areas in once-fertile regions Arid and Semiarid lands are especially vulnerable due to low precipitation Declines of soil quality have endangered the food supply for 1 billion people Could displace 50 million people in 10 years

Solutions

Crop Rotation: Alternating the type of crop grown in a given field from one season/year to the next

Contour Farming: Plowing furrows sideways across a hillside, perpendicular to its slope, to prevent formation of rills and gullies

Terracing: Transforms slopes into series of steps like a staircase, allowing farmers to cultivate hilly land without losing huge amounts of soil

Shelterbelts (Windbreaks): Rows of trees or other tall perennial plants, that are planted along the edges of fields to slow winds

Intercropping: Planting different types of crops in alternating bands, provides more ground cover than does a single crop

Reduced Tillage: Use a drill to cuts a furrow through the soil surface, and closes the furrow over the seed. Reduces wind erosion

Solution Examples

Solution Examples Crop Rotation, Contour Rotation, Terracing Intercropping, Shelterbelts, No-till Farming
Solution Examples Crop Rotation, Contour Rotation, Terracing Intercropping, Shelterbelts, No-till Farming

Crop Rotation, Contour Rotation, Terracing

Intercropping, Shelterbelts, No-till Farming

Works Cited

Withgott, Jay, and Scott R. Brennan. Environment: The Science behind the Stories. San Francisco: Pearson, 2009. Print.