Soil Degridation

Topics: Soil, Erosion, Desertification Pages: 1 (296 words) Published: October 10, 2013
Soil Degradation

The damaging process of soil particles being moved and cycled by water or wind is known as erosion. Soil erosion can occur anytime soil is bare or exposed and naturally removed by wind or water. This form of soil degradation is a natural process but it further elevated by human activity. Human disturbances of the soil allow for this process to happen more rapidly under natural conditions. According to the University of Michigan, whose geologist conducted a study, human actions produce 10 times more erosion and move 10 times as many sediments of soil than all natural processes combined. As a result, humans play a vital role through utilizing and abusing of natural resources. Soil is exposed to erosion by two specific human activities: over-cultivation and deforestation. Also, another major source for soil erosion is overgrazing. Deforestation is the process of removing trees from an area of land. When forests are cut down, the now exposed topsoil becomes saturated with water over time. This topsoil layer eventually slides off into the waterway and leaves behind the subsoil. Also, when forests are cleared, layers of humus wash away. Whether a forest is cut or cleared, subsoil is left behind which is nutrient-poor and continues to erode. Deforestation makes soil vulnerable to being swept away by wind and water. Over-cultivation is another activity that leaves the soil, more importantly the nutrient-rich topsoil, exposed to wind and water. This activity speeds up the erosion process of soil as well. Over-cultivation causes the soil to lose its structure and solidity; the soil then erodes effortlessly. Plowing is another component of process that leads to frequent erosion. Compaction of the soil is increased by plowing and therefore allows the soil to lose its structure. Plowing also accelerates the oxidation of humus.
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