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Main agents of Erosion causes:

erosion: Loss of soil fertility


Wind Runoff polluting
Water waterways
Gravity Fish kills
Coral reef bleaching
Human causes:
Clogs irrigation drains
Farming
Overgrazing
Logging/deforestation
Construction
Off-roading
Decreases plant nutrients
Decrease ability of soil to store water
Increase costsfertilizer
Increase flooding
Silt buildup in
waterways
Occurred during
1930s/Great Depression
in United States
Causes: drought & bad
farming practices
Overgrazing
Plowed prairies
destroyed root systems
Land left bare between
harvests
Drought 1926-1934
1934 dust cloud
traveled 1500 miles and
covered eastern U.S.
Forced internal
migration
1935 Soil Erosion Act:
established soil
conservation service
Could happen again
due to cyclical
droughts & global
warming
Desertification: Slowing
the decrease in Desertification
productivity of Decrease
arid/semi-arid land Overgrazing
Causes: climate Deforestation
change & Destructive farming
practices
degradation of
Plant anchoring
topsoil
root plants
Stabilize global
warming
Because the poor often farm degraded land that
is increasingly unable to meet their needs,
desertification is both a cause and a
consequence of poverty. Fighting desertification
must, therefore,
be an integral part of our wider efforts to
eradicate poverty and ensure long-term food
security.
Kofi Anan 2003 (UN Secretary General)
Effects:
Stunts crop growth
Lowers crop yields
Kills plants
Salinization:
irrigation water
evaporates leaving
salts in soil
Causes: over
irrigation leaving
standing water
Waterlogging:
large amounts of
water leaches salts
deep into soil profile
If drainage is poor,
saline water
envelops roots
Can kill plants
The reduction of soil erosion & restoration of
soil fertility
Primary goal: keep soil covered in vegetation
Methods:
Conventional-tillage farming: leaves soil
bare throughout the year
Conservation-tillage farming: little to no
disruption of soil
If 80% US farms used this method, soil erosion
would decrease by half
SUBSIDIES to farmers (Nebraska)
Terracing
Strip Cropping
Alley
Cropping/Agroforestry
Windbreaks/Shelterbelts
Gully Reclamation

Which way does the water


flow in relation to the
contour? Why is this type
of farming good for soil
conservation?
Animal Manure: dung/urine
Green Manure
Compost
Spores: mycorrihizae symbiosis
Crop Rotation: nutrient depleting crop
then legume (nitrogen fixator)

Chemical fertilizers
Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium
Have increased crop yields
Doesnt add humus, lessons soils ability to
hold water, lowers oxygen levels in soil, only
provides 2-3 of 20 needed nutrients, releases
nitrous oxide into atmosphere (GHG)
Soil erosion is second only to
population growth as the biggest
environmental problem the world
faces. Yet the problem, which is
growing ever more critical, is being
ignored, because who gets excited
about dirt?