Soil erosion is a big issue. It’s a global concern, just like global warming among others. In different places, the soil is being lost much faster than it can be naturally regenerated. There are about a dozen major environmental problems, all of them are sufficiently hazardous and many of them have caused the collapse of communities in the past.
When erosion takes place, soil particles get loosened by water, wind, or gravitational pull and can be easily carried away by the repeated action of these forces. In the 1930s, during the Dust Bowl when a severe drought hit parts of the central U.S. that were being farmed unsustainably, up to about 75% of the upper layer (topsoil) in some areas was blown away.
Both the processes of weathering and erosion affect us in tremendous ways too because they are some of the basic forces that shape the face of our planet. They wear down mountains to fill in valleys; they are why the seas are what they are and the land is clothed with life-giving soil. In this article, you will see how soil erosion affects us as humans, plus you get to understand that Silt Socks is near and how it helps.
Soil erosion is now a major concern in construction zones, especially in monumental projects. In construction, the focus on erosion control is increasing and different manufacturers are continually looking to develop innovative products such as silt socks, straw wattles, and silt fences for erosion and sedimentation control.
This can be caused by a variety of factors, but note that Kansas City Silt Sock is close by to control the effect. Depending on different factors, the severity of the issues and solutions varies. This is the reason there are different approaches regarding erosion control in construction projects.
Causes of Erosion in Brief
Soil erosion is everyone’s issue. You see it everywhere and it doesn’t matter whether you’re in an urban or rural setting, erosion happens and it affects even the untouched soil of the natural area. Erosion is caused by many factors which could be natural or human activities. Though, sometimes, it may combine both factors.
Allow me to tell you that water is the strongest erosive agent that has massive potential to disturb the soil surface. No argument, please! Just try to reason with me. Look around you! Yet, have you heard about Silt Sock around you? Check it out here.
If soils get soaked with water after long periods of intensive rain, their capacity to absorb water declines. This leads to increased surface runoff, which results in the following forms of erosion.
- Rill erosion
- Sheet erosion
- Splash erosion
- Gully erosion
Another agent that brings about erosion is the wind, which is most common around dry areas or barren lands where vegetation doesn’t grow. The sand dune is a fine example of wind-induced movement on the topsoil. Making these brief, other factors which you can look up for are; Local climate/Climate change, Soil erodibility, the slope gradient, and more.
Human activities that bring about erosion are:
- Urban development
- Recreational activities
Naturally, you would be worried about this happening if you had your house built on a steep slope and the ground is eroding out from beneath you. Or if there is any possibility of being buried in a landslide.
If you travel on a winding road, and you experience a cut into a steep mountainside, you might notice that over the years the down-slope side is slowly retreating as the edge of the road wears away – while the road might sometimes get buried by debris that washes in from above.
Another way that erosion can affect us is in the erosion of topsoil – modern farming methods (like plowing the ground with tractors) can lead to the soil being blown away by the wind or being carried into rivers whenever we experience rainfall. This is a problem because soils form very slowly and in many places soil formation can’t keep up with the high rates of soil loss due to erosion.
However, the focus of controlling erosion is to reduce the environmental impact while simultaneously cutting costs. All that said; let’s talk in-depth about the common effect of soil erosion on our everyday human life.
Soil Erosion and Human Activity
There really isn’t much good to say about erosion, but the domino effect that follows is just too large of a topic to tackle in one article. But, in short, the loss of fertile soil makes land less productive for agriculture. Erosion creates new deserts, pollutes waterways, and also alters how water flows through the landscape, potentially making flooding more common.
Soil erosion brings about a loss in productive topsoil (forever) and only unproductive stony soil is left behind, which cannot be used for cultivation. The soil left after erosion is thin and cannot hold plants firmly in the ground. The plants are easily displaced and blown away by the wind. Plants have a very low tendency to survive and if plants cannot survive how do we get food?
Nearly millions of hectares of arable land are lost to erosion and other forms of soil degradation every year. Countries all over the world are battling with the worrisome sight of deepening gullies crisscrossing the landscape and barren fields stripped of the fertile topsoil. And the cost of losing such a significant resource is extremely high.
According to some estimates, the cost of offsetting erosion effects in the United States ranges between $100 million to $44 billion per year!!
Let’s wake up and do the right thing. If we do not take the necessary steps to prevent the accelerating loss of our precious soils, there might come a time when we will not be able to produce enough food to feed the growing population – or harvest natural resources that require soils as a medium for growth.
As a result, the agricultural productivity of the land will be very low. Meaning the continual growth of the human population and the continual soil loss from erosion, will cause very serious challenges in meeting food needs. We also won’t be able to enjoy the crucial ecosystem services soils perform for us, such as filtration of rainwater to be suitable for drinking and the completion of nutrient cycles.
Man-made structures such as buildings and bridges may be destroyed because of erosion. This happens when the surrounding soil is eroded, thus weakening its foundation. Building with weaken foundation attracts vibration, which leads to cracking that end up with such build collapsing.
When gullies are excavated up to or near the water table, the underground water is then exposed. Some of it evaporates and others flow away. This causes the water table to be lowered and causes plants with shorter roots lack of survival as they cannot reach the water.
Sediments that are carried into rivers, lakes, and oceans may, and usually, contain chemical pollutants from farms and dumping grounds. Such pollutants may end up killing aquatic life such as fish, coral polyps, and plants. The water may also become unfit for human and animal consumption.
Soil erosion also causes a water reservoir that has been constructed along some rivers to be filled up with soil sediments. As the result, their lifespan and effectiveness are greatly affected and shortened. Similarly, increased alluvial deposits on the riverbed make the river channel become shallow, which results in frequent flooding.
Furthermore, the continued loss of soil through water and wind erosion leads to the destruction of vegetation cover. This may in the long run turn the affected area into a semi-desert region and eventually into the desert. This effect can be seen in the central part of Africa, take Tanzania, for example.
Soil erosion also affects human activity such that when the soil gets eroded from a place, it strips the land of some nutrients and soil which make such land. After which, the land becomes poor for any sort of vegetation. If the land is bad for vegetation, it won’t be good for farming either.
Erosion which is induced by the massive flow of water (e.g. tsunami) causes damage to human properties and the floods that we experience are the result that destroys our crops, livestock, and household and even loss of lives.
Aside from land sliding, erosion also brings about the formation of new landforms. Landforms can affect us in a good way because it can attract people (tourists) and bring ideas for recreation. Some recent research shows that the United States’ erosion rates are unsustainable and that the erosion rates in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America are in even worse shape. Many are hunting for solutions to the erosion problem but “silt sock” from KC Silt Sock has the answer for every one of these issues.
Contact us today for a free quote.