Erosion control strategies? What is soil erosion and soil degradation? Although soil erosion is a natural process, human activities over the past decades have greatly accelerated it. In fact, according to the UNESCO, land degradation is undermining the well-being of two-fifths of humanity, driving species extinct and intensifying climate change. According to a senior UN official, all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years.
Bits of sand are picked up and carried off by the wind, which can then blast the sides of nearby rocks, buffing and polishing them smooth. On the seashore, the action of waves chips away at cliffs and rakes the fragments back and forth into fine sand. Plants and animals also take a heavy toll on Earth’s hardened minerals. Lichens and mosses can squeeze into cracks and crevices, where they take root. As they grow, so do the cracks, eventually splitting into bits and pieces. Critters big and small trample, crush, and plow rocks as they scurry across the surface and burrow underground. Plants and animals also produce acids that mix with rainwater, a combination that eats away at rocks.
The broadest application of the term erosion embraces the general wearing down and molding of all landforms on Earth’s surface, including the weathering of rock in its original position, the transport of weathered material, and erosion caused by wind action and fluvial, marine, and glacial processes. This broad definition is more correctly called denudation, or degradation, and includes mass-movement processes. A narrow and somewhat limiting definition of erosion excludes the transport of eroded material by natural agencies, but the exclusion of the transport phenomenon makes the distinction between erosion and weathering very vague. Read more information on what is erosion website.
Soil erosion by water is linked to desertification processes. Its severity is prone to increase as a consequence of changes in the amount of precipitation as well as in its temporal and spatial distribution under prospective climate scenarios (IPCC 2014a). This will exert further pressure on ecosystems water balance and calls thus for adequate soil protection and conservation practices in the framework of ecosystems management (Coutinho and Antunes 2006; Jones et al. 2011; Panagos et al. 2015b, 2015c; Anaya-Romero et al. 2016; Seidl et al. 2016).
Soil Conservation is the name given to a handful of techniques aimed at preserving the soil. Soil loss and loss of soil fertility can be traced back to a number of causes including over-use, erosion, salinization, and chemical contamination. Unsustainable subsistence farming and the slash and burn clearing methods used in some less developed regions can often cause deforestation, loss of soil nutrients, erosion on a massive scale, and sometimes even complete desertification.