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Assignment no.

1 Role of Man in Erosion

Student Name: Syed Nigah Haider

Roll Number: 01-161042-102

Course Name: Environmental Geology Date of Submission: September 27th, 2005

Due Date: September 27, 2005

Teacher Name: Madam Raheela

Faculty Of Earth And Environmental Sciences, Bahria University Islamabad.

Erosion: Erosion basically is a part of the process of Denudation which involves the wearing away of the land surface by the mechanical action of transported debris. The agents of transportation (material to be eroded) are by themselves only capable of minute wearing action upon the rocks, but when they contain the particles of the weathered materials, they become powerful agents of destruction. (cycle of erosion; Glacier; Wind erosion; marine erosion; Weathering). Soil Erosion: Soils are just tiny fractions of all earth materials, yet they are a Vidal resource. As the soil is the necessary component for the growth of rooted plants, they are the very foundation of the human life support system. Just as human ingenuity can increase the agricultural productivity of soils through fertilizations and irrigation, soils can be damaged or destroyed by the careless activities. Despite their basic role in providing food, fiber, and other basic materials, soil are among our most abused resources.

Figure no.1: Soil Erosion

How Soil is Eroded: Soil erosion is the natural process; it is the part of constant recycling of the earth materials that we call the Rock Cycle. Once soil forms, erosional forces, especially water and wind, move soil component from one place to another. Every time it rains, raindrop strike the land with surprising force ( when it is raining, millions of water drops are falling at velocity round about 10m/s, when water drop strike an exposed surface soil particles may splash as high as 1 meter into the air and land more than a meter away from the point of the raindrop impact, soil dislodged by splash erosion). Then water flowing across the surface carries away the dislodged soil particles. Because the soil is moved by the thin sheets of water, this process is termed as Sheet erosion.

Rates of Erosion: We know that the soil is the ultimate fate of practically all soils. In the past erosion occurred at a slower rates does it today because more of the land surface was covered and protected by trees, shrubs, grasses, and other plants. However, human activities such as farming, logging, construction, which removed the natural vegetation, have greatly accelerated the rate of soil erosion. Without stabilizing effect of plants, the soil is more easily swept away by the wind or carry downslope by the sheet wash.

Role of Man in Erosion

Human live close to and depend on the soil. It is one of the thinnest and most vulnerable human resources and is one upon which, both deliberately and inadvertently, humans have a very major impact. Where the science and technology is advancing day by day, new methods and techniques are applied in each and every field in order to maintain and increase the standard of life, so that for coming generation the life can be more easy than today. As all these advancements where the human activities are in a way towards different new formulas, these activities are placing great impacts on earths natural systems and environments. With the passage of time as these natural processes and environments are absorbing the effect of human interruption, but now these systems seems to start gaining some stress which is all due to the human interruption in earths natural systems. Following are the cases in which the human activities are playing vidal role related to erosion of soil. 1. Lateritization: In some parts of the tropics there are extensive sheet of a material called Laterite, an an iron/aluminum rich duricrust. These iron rich sheets results naturally, rather because of preferential removal of silica during the coarse of extensive weathering (leading to a relative accumulation of the sesquioxides of iron and aluminum), or because of an absolute accumulation of these compounds. One of the properties of laterites is that they harden on exposure to air and through desiccation. Once harder then they are not favorable to plant growth. One particular way, in which exposure take place is by accelerated erosion, while forest removal may so cause a change in microclimate that desiccation of the laterites surface can take place. One of the problem with the removal of the humid tropical rain forest is that lateritiitization may occur. This

tends to limit the extent of successful soil utilization and severely retards the reestablishment of forest.. Mans activities aggravate the danger of laterites and increase the process the rate of laterization. To begin with, erosion when started by negligent removal of forest simply wears away the friable and relatively fertile soil which would otherwise cover the laterite and support forest or cropsThe formation check the formation of laterite in various ways. The trees supply plenty of organic matter and maintain a good proportion of Humus in the soil. The forest slow down the rate of evaporation of soil and it reduces percolation and consequently leaching. Lasting the forest may improve the composition of soil by fixing atmospheric dust.

2. Soil Erosion Associated with Deforestation And Agriculture: Forests protect the underlying soil from the direct effect of rainfall, runoff is generally reduced, tree roots bind the soil, and the litter layer protects the ground from the rain splash. It is therefore to b expected that with the removal of forest, for agriculture or for other reasons, rates of soil loss with rise and mass movements will increase in magnitude and frequency. The rates of erosion that results will be particularly high if the ground is left bare; under crops the increase will be less marked. Further more the method of ploughing, the time of planting, the nature of crops, and the size of fields, will all have an influence on the severity of erosion. It is seldom that we have reliable records of rates of erosion over a sufficiently long time span to show just how much human activities have accelerated these effects.

Figure no.2: Deforestation

In some cases the erosion produced by forest removal will be in the form of widespread surface stripping. In other cases the erosion will occur as more spectacular forms of mass movement, such as mudflows, landslides, debris avalanches. In some cases substantial effects created by clear cutting and by the construction of logging roads, which needs special attention to be exercised in order to minimize the erosional effects.

Causes of soil degradation (% of degrading land)

Europe Africa North America Central America South America Asia Oceania World

38 14 4 22 41 40 12 30

Fuel wood
13 18 5 6 7

Overgrazing Agriculture Industrialization

23 49 30 15 28 26 80 35 29 24 66 45 26 27 8 28 9 1

Source: World Resources Institute, 1990. & L R Oldeman et al, Wageningen, Holland, 1990.

The storm also result from changing the agricultural practices, including the substation of artificial fertilizers for farmyard manure, a reduction I the process of claying where by clay was added to the peat to stabilize it, the removal of hedgerows facilitate the use of bigger farm machinery, and perhaps most importantly, the increased cultivation of sugar beet. Dust Bowl is responsible for the depletion of the vegetation cover. In the series of hot, dry years (sometimes) the dust bowl deplete the vegetation cover and and made the soil dry enough to be susceptible to wind erosion. The effect of this drought were gravely exacerbated by years of over grazing and unsatisfactory farming techniques.

Figure no.3: Dust Bowl

Following figure is explaining the wind erosion:

Figure no.4: Process of Wind Erosion

3. Soil Erosion Produced by Fire: Many fires are started by humans, either deliberately or non deliberately, and because the fire removes the vegetation and expose the ground and tend to increase the rate of soil erosion.The burning of forests, due to the slight mistake or excess of temperature led to the higher rate of soil erosion.

Figure no.5: Fire In Forest

4. Soil erosion Associated with Construction and Urbanization: There are now a number of studies which illustrate clearly that urbanization can made/ create significant changes in the rate of erosion. The highest rate of erosion is produced in the construction phase, when there is large amount of exposed grounds and much disturbance by vehicle movement and excavations. The equivalent of many decades of natural or even agricultural erosion may take place during a single years in areas cleared for construction.

Figure no.6: Construction of Road

In 1970 Walling and Gregory found that suspended sediments concentration in streams draining constructions areas were 2 to 10 times higher than those in undistributed areas. Moreover, even during the construction phase several techniques can be used to reduce sediment removal.

Attempts at Soil Conservation

Because of the adverse effect of accelerated erosion a whole array of techniques has now been widely adopted to conserve the soil resources, that some of the techniques such as hill slope terracing may be of some antiquity: 1. Revegetation: a) Deliberate planting, b) Suppression of fire, grazing, etc., to allow regeneration. 2. Measures to stop stream bank erosion 3. Measures to stop gully enlargement a) Planting of trailing plants, etc. b) Weirs, dams, gabions, etc 4. Crop Management: a) Maintaining cover at critical times of year b) Rotation c) Cover crops 5. Slope Runoff control: a) b) c) d) e) Terracing Deep tillage and application of humus Transverse hillside ditches to interrupt runoff Contour ploughing Preservation of vegetation strips

6. Prevention of erosion from Point source: a) Intelligent geomorphic location b) Channelling of drainage water to non susceptible aread c) Covering of banks, cuttings, etc., with vegetation 7. suppression of Wind Erosion a) Soil moistrure preservation

b) Increase in surface roughness through ploughing up clods or planting windbreaks