Causes of Soil Erosion

Article about the three causes of soil erosion and what can be done about it.

             There are three major causes of erosion. These include overcultivation, overgrazing, and deforestation(Boorse and Wright, 2011, p. 284). There are ways to correct erosion, which will be discussed further in this paper.

            The first major cause of erosion is overcultivation. Overcultivation is the practice of continually cultivating and growing crops more quickly than the soil can redevelop, leading to a decline in soil quality and productivity. (Boorse and Wright, 2011, p. 649) When crops are planted, most farmers first plow to control the weeds and loosen the soil. Other negative causes of this kind of erosion during the plowing are that the heaviness of the tractor compacts the soil further and the plowing actually accelerates the corrosion of humus and evaporative water loss.  The area is usually left bare for a while before the crop is actually put in the ground, which means that it is open to the elements like wind and water erosion. After the crops are gathered, the soils are once again left open to the elements for a while. When this is done over and over again, the soil loses quality, and eventually is unusable.

            Overcultivation can be reversed, though. One way to reverse it is through the no-till technique. (Boorse and Wright, 2011, p. 285) This technique allows the farmer to continuously use the land for crops while lessening the chance for erosion. This is done by first spraying the area with a poison to get rid of the weeds, then going over it with a special planting machine that is pulled behind a tractor. This machine cuts a channel through the dead weeds, drops seed and fertilizer into said channel, then closes them up. After the crops are harvested, this procedure is duplicated, leaving the waste as a mulch cover for the next crop. (Boorse and Wright, 2011, p. 285) This technique makes sure that the soil is never left out in the open, and the topsoil is maintained. Another way to reverse overcultivation is through the use of organic fertilizer. Also, farmers can plow and cultivate at right angles to contour slopes. This is called contour strip cropping. (Boorse and Wright, 2011, p. 285) They can use the shelterbelt technique (Boorse and Wright, 2011, p. 285), which are protective belts of trees and shrubs planted and maintained along the edges of the plowed fields.

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Published in: Gardening


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