Soil Erosion with Professor Loam

Professor Loam here! It brings me great pleasure to bring you today’s blog posting. There is nothing I love more than getting my hands dirty, talking soil erosion control.  It seems to me that in order to control erosion, we have to know what is causing it! So I say, let’s talk dirty…

I have found that the causes of soil erosion can be broken down into two main categories:Erosion by Water and Erosion by Wind. Although soil erosion is a natural occurrence on all land, there are certain factors that call accelerate the erosion making it more noticeable and problematic.

Water: Causes and Factors of Soil Erosion:
  • 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 Erodibility: 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.
Water: 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.
Now let's talk about how the wind causes erosion.

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.

Wind: 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.

I hope you got your daily dose of dirt today! I'll see you again soon. Meanwhile, check out the latest news in erosion with our resident newscaster, Terra Firma.

1 comment:

Tim Otis said...

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