Causes and Preventive Measures of Erosion

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Erosion is the action of surface processes (such as water flow or wind) that remove soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth’s crust, then transport it away to another location. Erosion is the breakdown of soil particles contained in soil and dirt. Erosion occurs just as fast as it takes the soil to form, so erosion consequences can be devastating if it is not controlled.

Although erosion happens naturally, human activities can make it much worse. Basically, there are two major causes of erosion, viz;

Human activity on and around the earth’s surface whether it is in your backyard or down the park are known to cause erosion 10 times more than naturally occurring processes. Human life has been the number one cause of erosion dating back to the first millennium.

Agriculture and construction are the 2 ways in which humans cause erosion. Construction when unnecessarily conducted can be quite damaging to soil and dirt. Vegetation and agriculture are also 2 human causes of erosion because humans move the top soil and make it prone to erosion. Grazing and deforestation are also human causes of erosion because human life is making the grounds surface soil bare and extremely prone to erosion by natural forces

Another way in which humans cause erosion is by simply watering their gardens. Erosion occurs when watering the gardens of your residential property mainly because the force of water which is coming from your garden hose or irrigation system is too fierce and it makes the soil eroded quite quickly. We can prevent this also by not over watering garden areas containing soil.

Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. One of the most natural causes of erosion is rainfall. Rainfall can be devastating to soil because of the force and impact in which it hits the topsoil with. These splashing affects cause soil to lose particles to shift and move around into unknown places. When the eroded area (which has been caused by water) dries up it is known to form gullies and large cracks in the surface which can be so damaging to rural and farming properties.

Wind is another natural factor which causes erosion. Wind is known to pick up soil and shift it to another space whilst it does so the actual soil decomposes and loses its soil particles. Wind and water together can cause erosion to occur severely. Wind itself cannot cause as much harm as they do together.

In simpler terms, erosion is the loss of soil. As soil erodes, it loses nutrients leading to low agricultural yields, clogs rivers with dirt, and eventually turns the area into a desert. It can even deprive us our means of livelihood, claim human lives and properties leaving us in helpless situations, and this how it can affects us as Nigerians.

Preventive Measures

Plant grass and shrubs: Bare soil is easily swept away by wind and water, the two main causes of erosion. Plant roots hold the soil together, while their leaves block rain and stop it breaking the soil apart.

Add mulch or rocks. This will weigh down the soil and protect the seeds and young plants underneath from getting washed away.

Use mulch matting to hold vegetation on slopes: On steep slopes, dig a small trench at the top of the hill. Lay the top of the mat in the trench, fill it up with soil, then fold the mat back over the top. This helps water run over the top of the mat, where the mat will slow it down, instead of traveling underneath it.


Put down fiber logs: You can plant seeds directly in the logs to protect them while they grow.


Build retaining walls: Badly eroded slopes will continue to collapse downhill until they are stabilized. A retaining wall at the base of the slope will block the soil, help the soil hold together and slow down the collapse


Improve drainage: All buildings should have gutters or pipes that can drain water effectively out of your garden and into water collection systems. Without adequate drainage, heavy rain could wash away a whole layer of topsoil.


Reduce watering if possible: Over-watering your garden can speed up erosion by washing away soil. Use less water if you can, or install a drip irrigation system. Since a drip system only delivers small amounts of water at a time, there is no water flooding across the surface to carry topsoil.


Avoid soil compaction. When people, animals, or machines travel over soil, they press it down, compacting the soil into a dense layer. Since there is less space between dirt particles in compacted soil, water has a hard time draining through, and carries soil on the surface downhill instead.



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