What is erosion in agriculture


In agriculture, soil erosion refers to the wearing away of a field’s topsoil by the natural physical forces of water and wind or through forces associated with farming activities such as tillage. Erosion, whether it is by water, wind or tillage, involves three distinct actions – soil detachment, movement and deposition.


Why is erosion bad for farming?

Why is erosion so bad for farming? Soil erosion decreases soil fertility, which can negatively affect crop yields. It also sends soil-laden water downstream, which can create heavy layers of sediment that prevent streams and rivers from flowing smoothly and can eventually lead to flooding.

How does farming cause erosion?

What are the 3 major causes of soil erosion?

  • Sheet erosion by water;
  • Wind erosion;
  • Rill erosion – happens with heavy rains and usually creates smalls rills over hillsides;
  • Gully erosion – when water runoff removes soil along drainage lines.
  • Ephemeral erosion that occurs in natural depressions.

What are the best plants to prevent erosion?

Tall Native Plants

  • Big Leaf Aster. The host plant for pearl crescent and silvery checkerspot butterflies and loved by honey bees. …
  • Ostrich Fern. If you have a wet, shady area, this is an ideal candidate as a plant for erosion control. …
  • Big Bluestem. Bluestem is a tall perennial grass that is common in the northern states and across the Great Plains states.
  • Sedge. …

How does agriculture affect soil erosion?

  • topsoil thickness;
  • rooting depth, which relates to plant-available water capacity; and
  • depth to maximum clay content in the soil profile.

How does soil erosion affect agriculture?

Soil erosion can negatively impact agriculture by reducing crop yields and quality. In an era where the population continues to grow rapidly, the agricultural sector is being put under increasing pressure to respond and produce enough food for our growing society.

What is the process of soil erosion?

Soil erosion refers to the process whereby the top layer of soil is removed. While it is a natural process, caused by the weather, it is also caused by human activity, and it can cause harm to agricultural processes when it occurs rapidly and excessively. One of the leading causes of soil erosion is deforestation.

Why is it important to protect the land that food is grown on?

This highlights the vital need to protect the land that food is grown on to prevent a food crisis. With the soil being eroded at rates between 10 to 40 times faster than the rates at which it is being renewed, it is essential to address the causes of soil erosion to limit the detrimental effects to agriculture.

How many hectares of land are abandoned each year?

Studies have shown that around 10 million hectares of land are abandoned each year due to this lack of crop productivity caused by soil erosion. This effects some regions more than others, with Africa, Asia, and South America averaging at a loss of 30 to 40 hectares annually.

How much of the world’s agricultural land is affected by erosion?

It is estimated that as much as 80% of the world ’ s agricultural land is suffering from what is considered moderate or severe levels of erosion. Also, almost all human food source comes from the land, with an estimated 99.7% of food calories coming from this source and just 0.3% coming from aquatic ecosystems.

Can grazing animals cause soil erosion?

Agricultural processes themselves can also cause soil erosion. Grazing animals can induce this effect by eating the plants covering the topsoil, exposing it to the elements, and churning up the ground pacing back and forth over its surface.

How does plant growth contribute to physical erosion?

Plant growth can also contribute to physical erosion in a process called bioerosion. Plants break up earthen materials as they take root, and can create cracks and crevice s in rocks they encounter. Ice and liquid water can also contribute to physical erosion as their movement forces rocks to crash together or crack apart. …

How does vegetation help with erosion?

Vegetation can slow the impact of erosion. Plant roots adhere to soil and rock particles, preventing their transport during rainfall or wind events. Trees, shrub s, and other plants can even limit the impact of mass wasting events such as landslides and other natural hazards such as hurricanes.

What is the process of changing the physical properties of rocks?

Physical erosion describes the process of rocks changing their physical properties without changing their basic chemical composition. Physical erosion often causes rocks to get smaller or smoother. Rocks erode d through physical erosion often form clastic sediments. Clastic sediment s are composed of fragments of older rocks that have been transported from their place of origin.

What are the four types of erosion?

Rain, rivers, floods, lakes, and the ocean carry away bits of soil and sand and slowly wash away the sediment. Rainfall produces four types of soil erosion: splash erosion, sheet erosion, rill erosion, and gully erosion.

What is the force of ocean erosion?

The ocean is a huge force of erosion. Coastal erosion —the wearing away of rocks, earth, or sand on the beach—can change the shape of entire coastlines. During the process of coastal erosion, waves pound rocks into pebbles and pebbles into sand.

What is the term for the process in which earthen materials are worn away and transported by natural forces such as wind or

Encyclopedic Entry. Vocabulary. Erosion is the geological process in which earthen materials are worn away and transported by natural forces such as wind or water. A similar process, weathering, breaks down or dissolve s rock, but does not involve movement.

What causes the top of the arch to fall?

The continual pounding of waves can cause the top of the arch to fall, leaving nothing but rock columns called sea stack s. The seven remaining sea stacks of Twelve Apostles Marine National Park, in Victoria, Australia, are among the most dramatic and well-known of these features of coastal erosion.

What is Soil Erosion?

Did you know that when it comes to the topsoil of the planet, it has been slowing being lost and eroded for the past century or so?

Causes of Soil Erosion

So how is soil erosion becoming a major concern and what are the major reasons why it is a common dilemma.

The Rise in Deforestation

Yes removing forests and thick and vast lands of green is definitely one of the major causes of erosion.

Overgrazing Dilemma

This is another major concern that needs to be addressed. It is what we call the way in which natural ecosystems can change into and pasture lands.

The Rise in Agrochemicals

In a world where we have become so accustomed to and adapted various ways to keep the focus on yields and remuneration, it doesn’t come as a surprise that we focus so heavily on the use of pesticides.

Impact of Soil Erosion

So now let’s talk about the major impacts of soil erosion. It is a major cause for concern if not handles and taken care of in a timely manner.

Arable Land Loss

This means that there won’t be any productive land available which would lead to the growth of productive crops. The top soil is highly important.

What is soil erosion?

Soil Erosion 101. The loss of topsoil to wind, rain, and other forces is a natural process, but when intensified by human activity , it can have negative environmental, societal, and economic impacts. June 01, 2021 Keith Mulvihill.

What are the effects of soil erosion?

Unmitigated, severe soil erosion can result in the loss of food crops, negatively impact community resiliency and livelihoods, and even alter ecosystems by reducing biodiversity above, within, and below the topsoil. A dead catfish lies on the shoreline of an algae-filled Lake Erie in Toledo, Ohio.

What are the factors that affect the erodibility of a field?

Damage is more likely to occur if a great deal of rainfall and water runoff flows over the land during storms. Soil type, quality, and texture—the combination of soil particle size and how loosely or densely the particles are compacted— also influence the erodibility of a field’s soil.

How long will the topsoil of the world last?

Soil scientists believe that if current rates of soil degradation continue, all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. Luckily, there are many time-tested techniques to help conserve our soil so that it may continue to serve the needs of generations to come.

What is the opposite of deposition?

And erosion is the opposite of deposition, when natural forces leave earthen materials behind.) Soil erosion refers to the erosion of the top layer of dirt known as topsoil, the fertile material vital to life.

How long does it take for soil to degrade?

Loss of soil threatens to destabilize our food systems even today. Incredibly, one inch of topsoil can take several hundred years to develop, and scientists estimate that the United States is losing soil at a rate 10 times faster than nature’s ability to replenish it.

Why is cover cropping important?

The primary function is to protect the soil by keeping it on the ground and maintaining living roots in the soil.

Why Plan?

Planning is always the first step in successfully completing any endeavor.
This holds true for conservation efforts on agricultural operations.

There are different types of conservation plans, click to find out more about the different plan types

An Ag E&S plan determines the potential for erosion on your fields based on your farming practices. This plan demonstrates that your soils can tolerate the amount of soil disturbance caused by farming or grazing. It also details how you’re addressing concentrated flow (gully) erosion with BMPs.

Agricultural Erosion & Sediment Control Plan

An Ag E&S Plan is a written site specific record of the farm operator and/or landowner’s decisions as to how they presently or will reduce erosion from cropland and animal heavy use areas (AHUA). An Ag E&S Plan is the minimum level of plan required for agricultural operations in Pennsylvania.

Ag Construction E&S Plans & Permits

Construction activities on farms require a written Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan when disturbing more than 5,000 square feet, as with any other type of construction (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.).

How does soil erosion occur?

Soil erosion occurs when soil is mobilized and transported away from a region, usually by the force of wind or water. It often occurs on bare soils that have been disturbed by poor agricultural practices, overgrazing, or forestry.

Why do roads and trails cause erosion?

Improperly designed trails and roads contribute to soil erosion because they often cause significant alterations to your topography. They should be designed to follow gradual changes in elevation instead of being straight up a hillside where they can channel water and cause erosion.

How much of the world’s topsoils are lost due to soil erosion?

According to the World Wildlife Fund website on Soil Erosion and Degradation, humans have been responsible for the loss 50% of all topsoils!

Why is soil important to the world?

Unfortunately, soil erosion around the world is leading to mass degradation of soils leaving farmers …

What are some ways to reduce soil erosion?

Barren and exposed soils are the most susceptible to soil erosion. Keeping your soils covered with organic mulches or vegetation is one of the best ways to reduce soil erosion. Aside from reducing soil erosion, using mulch or cover crops provides other benefits to your soils.

What are the effects of modern agriculture on soil?

Many modern agricultural practices cause accelerated rates of soil erosion and end up costing farmers the health of their soil. If you’re a farmer this means the more you’ll have to spend on soil amendments and pesticides, many of which will cause further soil deterioration.

What happens to the top of the soil?

Soil Erosion Destroys Your Top Soil. The first couple inches of your soil is the most important and biologically active part of your soil. If free from erosion, organic matter and soil nutrients accumulate here to form the fertile dark soils.

What is genetic erosion?

Genetic erosion, the decrease in population variation due to random genetic drift and inbreeding, is both a symptom and a cause of endangerment of small isolated populations. Population genetic theory shows that variation will be lost by genetic drift with an almost clock-like regularity (Wright, 1969). In closed populations, in the absence of …

Why is genetic erosion still occurring?

It is generally accepted that significant amounts of genetic erosion have occurred and are still occurring mainly as consequence of the destruction of ecosystems and habitats by several pressure factors. Multiple strategies have been adopted to prevent the loss of genetic variation of plant species.

What is ex situ conservation?

One of them is ex situ conservation, which consists in the maintenance of germplasm accessions in gene bank facilities to avoid changes of genetic structure as well as extinction. Gene banks should not be considered as seed museums but as a source of genetic resources available to the user community.

What are the wild relatives of a crop?

These are (1) wild relatives of a crop (2) semi-domesticated (weedy) relatives (3) perennial species, especially tree species and (4) landraces of specific crop species. The wild relative of a crop and tree species is depending on natural ecosystems but the landraces are products of the human habitat.

Why is the improvement of local traditional farming system necessary?

Thus the improvement of local traditional farming system is necessary so that the local farming community can adopt easily to the improved system under the specific agro-ecosystem and conserve their biological diversity. The conservation of wild relatives of rice is equally important.

Why is genetic erosion undocumented?

The phenomenon of genetic erosion has long been understood in terms of population genetic theory, but the critical early stages of the process in nature have gone undocumented because the changes are rapid and difficult to monitor.

Can genetic erosion be upscaled?

Furthermore, the method can easily be upscaled to larger mammals of conventional concern to conservationists. Although monitoring genetic erosion in long-lived species may not be practical, much can be learned immediately by comparing isolated populations to those still more continuously distributed.


What Is Erosion?

Erosion is a geological process in which earthen materials (i.e., soil, rocks, sediments) are worn away and transported over time by natural forces such as water or wind; sometimes this is sped up by poor management or other human impacts on land. The natural process of river erosion, in fact, created the Grand C…

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What Causes Erosion?

  • Soil erosion occurs primarily when dirt is left exposed to strong winds, hard rains, and flowing water. In some cases, human activities, especially farming and land clearing, leave soil vulnerable to erosion. For example, when farmers till (plow) the soil before or after growing a season of crops, they may leave it exposed to the elements for weeks or months. The overgrazing of farm …

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Impacts of Erosion

  • Soil erosion reduces the quantity and the quality of soil ecosystems and arable land (land that can be used to grow crops). Scientists estimate that in the Midwest, home to some of America’s most productive farmland, half of all topsoil loss has occurred in the last 50 years due to erosion intensified by human activity. According to the NRCS, cropland across Iowa has lost an average …

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Water Erosion

  • What is water erosion?
    Water erosion occurs when rain or snowmelt displaces the soil on the ground. The more water flowing over the land, the more soil particles are moved or transported away. Land that has no vegetation—including farm fields that are left barren after crop harvest—are especially vulnerabl…
  • Water erosion factors
    For water to cause erosion and harm to farm fields, several factors come into play. Damage is more likely to occur if a great deal of rainfall and water runoff flows over the land during storms. Soil type, quality, and texture—the combination of soil particle size and how loosely or densely th…

See more on nrdc.org

Wind Erosion

  • What is wind erosion?
    Wind erosion is a natural process that moves loose soil from one location to another. Very strong winds, in fact, can form large, destructive dust storms. In drier regions of North America, millions of tons of soil are lost to wind erosion annually. In October 2020, a huge dust storm, visible fro…
  • Wind erosion factors
    Soils types that are loose, dry, and finely granulated are less desirable for farmland, as these qualities create smooth surfaces and increase erodibility. On the other hand, soil structure—roughness, clumps, and ridges—can help absorb wind energy and reduce erosion. Fiel…

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Climate Change and Erosion

  • Many communities across the United States have been experiencing firsthand the tragic consequences of climate change, including more frequent flooding, longer wildfire seasons, more intense droughts, and coastal erosion due to sea level rise. And climate change is already impacting farming practices, even some that farmers have used for millennia. Here’s how climat…

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Erosion Control

  • Soil erosion is essentially a battle between two forces: flowing water or wind versus the gravity that holds soil in place. The ability of soil to stay put relies on how well we work to eliminate or minimize the erosive forces and maximize soil stability.

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