soil erosion and control
Soil erosion. Erosion is the removal or wearing away of the surface soil by different agents. for the records, erosion simply means the wearing away of the topmost soil, exposing the soil to degradation, leaching and loss of nutrients due to the action of biotic or abiotic factors. there are three major type of erosion, these are 1. gully erosion 2. sheet erosion and 3. wind erosion
Erosion is the action of surface processes (such as water flow or wind) that removes soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth’s crust, and then transports it to another location where it is deposited. Erosion is distinct from weathering which involves no movement. Removal of rock or soil as sediment is referred to as physical or mechanical erosion; this contrasts with chemical erosion, where soil or rock material is removed from an area by dissolution. Eroded sediment or solutes may be transported just a few millimetres, or for thousands of kilometres.
Types of soil erosion
There are four types of soil erosion depending on how the erosion occurs. These are:for
1. Splash or raindrop erosion.
2. Sheet erosion.
3. Rill erosion.
4. Gully erosion.
soil erosion explained
(a) Splash or raindrop erosion:
This is the first stage of the erosion caused by rainfall. It is the removal of soil particles by little raindrops. The soil particles scattered by raindrops block the soil pores.
This will make it difficult for the rain water to the soil. The result is that the water will begin to flow gradually on the surface of the soil.
(b) Sheet erosion:
Sheet erosion follows splash. It occurs when raindrops cause soil particles to block soil pores. Rain water then shoves slowly over the soil surface.
The soil particles are then removed or carried away evenly. This can also be caused by wind. The wind blowing over the soil that is exposed can carry away soil particles uniformly and deposit them somewhere else”:
agents of soil erosion
These agents are:
1. Water 4. Ice
2. Wind 5. Man.
However, water is the major agent of erosion in Nigeria.
The process of erosion involves three stages. The detachment of soil particles, transportation and deposition.
Types of erosion
There are four types of soil erosion depending on how the fusion occurs. These are:
1. Splash or raindrop erosion.
2. Sheet erosion.
3. Rill erosion.
4. Gully erosion.
(a) Splash or raindrop erosion: This is the first stage of the erosion caused by rainfall. It is the removal of soil particles by tiny raindrops. The soil particles scattered by raindrops block the soil pores. This will make it difficult for the rain water to the soil. The result is that the water will begin to flow gradually on the surface of the soil.
(b) Sheet erosion: Sheet erosion follows splash. It occurs when raindrops cause soil particles to block soil pores. Rain water then Hows slowly over the soil surface. The soil particles are then removed or carried away evenly. This can also be caused by wind. The wind blowing over the soil that is exposed can carry away soil particles uniformly and deposit them somewhere else”:
(c) Rill erosion: Sheet erosion develops into rill erosion. This occurs when raindrops on the soil surface cause gradual removal of soil particles in suspension along narrow channels.
The channels may be existing before^They could be caused by the rain water itself. The size of the “channels, or rills becomes larger because of downward cutting. This eventually leads to gully erosion
(d) Gully erosion: Channels that cannot be smoothened out by ordinary cultivation are referred to as gullies. Gully erosion takes place when rain water does not sink into the soil, it therefore runs off over the land.
The soil particles being carried by the rain water help to cut deeper and deeper into the soil. Sudden drop in slope or channel increases the cutting power of the water. Where the land is very sloppy and the soil loose, large gullies are easily formed.
how to Prevent and control erosion
Prevention and control of erosion can be achieved through the following practices:
(a) Covering the land with vegetation: Covering the soil with plants prevents the soil from being exposed to agents of erosion such as water and wind. The planting of cover crops is to maintain adequate ground cover.
Soil fertility is also increased because of leaf fall. Water infiltration is encourage and run-off is reduced because of the vegetative cover.
(a) Crop rotation: A well designed crop rotation ensures that the land is always protected against erosion. Where legumes are included in the rotation, they help to control erosion because they cover the soil surface.
(c) Application of organic and inorganic manures: The addition of compost and farm yard manures make the soil cohesive and absorb water.’ They also add plant nutrients to the soil. The addition of lime fertilizers such as calcium triococarbonate (IV) to the soil causes loose soil particles to be bound together. This improves the structure of the soil and the soil cannot be carried a|way easily whether by water or wind.
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(d) Mulching: This involves covering the soil with mulch materials such as papers, grasses and stones. It prevents direct conduit between the soil and raindrops.
Mulching increases water infiltration and reduces sheet erosion. Where mulching is done with plant materials, organic is added to the soil. This helps to bind loose soil particles together.
(e) Preventing bush burning: Setting the bush on fire destroys the organic matters of the soil. During bush burning, organic matter and many agriculturally important living organisms are destroyed. The soil is therefore exposed to agents of erosion.
Where bush burning is avoided, the organic matter and micro-organisms present help to improve the soil structure and control erosion.
(f) Preventing overgrazing: Overgrazing of pasture or field could occur if animals are allowed to remain for a long time on the same land. Almost every vegetation in such a place is eaten up stud will not have time to grow again. Such land is exposed to poision agents. The feet of animals also destroy soil structure and cause the formation of hard layers or hard pans below the soil surface. This makes infiltration difficult and increases surface run-off. Overgrazing by farm animals should therefore be avoided.
(g) Establishment of wind breaks: The planting of trees prevents soil erosion by acting as wind breaks. This is a good erosion preventive measure especially in the Savannah regions and where the soil is sandy.
(h) Contour strip cropping: This involves the growing of close ginning plants such as grasses and row crops such as maize in alternate strips across the slope of the land. This ensure adequate cover for the land. It therefore reduces the speed of moving water and its load.
(i) Terracing: These are embankments constructed across the slope at regular interval to conduct water from the land in such a way as to keep erosion under control. They reduce the length of slope that may aid erosion. Terraces are built in form of steps along the contour of the land or across the slope.
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