Soil erosion is a disaster that occurs in virtually every season of the year and farmers are the most hit.
In addition to harming plant growth, soil erosion also harms water quality. In addition to many other things, the soil is an important natural resource that fosters and promotes plant growth. Wind and water can damage soil if it is left naked and exposed.
Transported sediments can suffocate aquatic life and raise water temperatures in storm drains and surface waters. These sediments may also be connected with other contaminants, such as bacteria, fertilizers, and heavy metals, which would further deteriorate the quality of the water.
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How to Prevent Soil Erosion in Farming
We can try several tried-and-true methods of stopping soil erosion, even if there isn’t much we can do about wind and rain. Because erosive processes are hard to slow down and extremely harder to halt, prevention is by far the best form of management.
- Produce Crops On Suitable Lands
- Practice Terracing And Contour Farming
- Don’t Leave The Soil Bare
- Plant Vegetation
- Add Mulch, Matting, and Rocks
- Change to Minimum or no Tillage
- Add Organic Material
- Avoid Soil Compaction and Overgrazing
- Create Diversions To Help Drainage
1. Produce Crops On Suitable Lands
Without taking specific precautions to reduce the hazards, some terrains are too vulnerable to erosive processes to be exploited for farming. Additionally, specific management is needed for each type of field to prevent soil erosion.
2. Practice Terracing And Contour Farming
The only option to cultivate land on steep slopes is through terrace farming since swift runoffs cause erosion to develop quickly. Because plants absorb water and ridges prevent it from flowing, contour farming reduces soil erosion and lowers the chance of devastation. Strong-rooted plants stabilize the ground and stop it from slipping down a slope.
3. Don’t Leave The Soil Bare
Field protection aids in preventing and reducing field degradation. Having a ground cover of over 30% reduces hazards by preventing erosion. In the majority of grazing and agricultural production systems, complete cover can be used.
4. Plant Vegetation
By putting in native plant species, erosion issues can be reduced most effectively. By maintaining constant ground cover with crops, planting helps minimize soil erosion, whereas leaving a field naked encourages erosive processes.
Utilize crop rotation and cover crop techniques to provide soil protection between growing seasons. Additionally, crop rotation prevents soil erosion by stabilizing the soil with a variety of deeply rooted crops. Furthermore, sections of dense vegetation shield fields from the wind.
They protect bare soil from being carried away with the assistance of their deep root systems. The greatest strategy to stop erosion is to maintain plants, replace dead ones with new ones, and reforest areas. Plant a variety of the following for the greatest results.
Ornamental grasses have deep, swiftly dispersing fibrous roots. They are therefore perfect for stabilizing soils.
Groundcovers provide rapid and extensive coverage. Because of this, they can travel farther in less time. They work well to conceal barren places in a lawn in addition to reducing soil erosion.
By deterring foot traffic, these resilient plants are excellent in lowering animal and human-caused erosion. A shrub’s resilience enables it to endure these harsh conditions. People and animals are deterred from walking in that area by a dense bush.
Trees can hold soil layers together because they have deep roots. Heavy rain and slow runoff can be captured by tree branches before they reach the ground.
5. Add Mulch, Matting, and Rocks
To preserve seeds and plants, the soil is weighed down with the following. They all work to prevent runoff from destroying seeds and plants.
In addition to shielding the field from rain and wind, mulches like straw, dried weeds, or agro textiles also help to keep the soil moist, preventing the land from splitting.
Additionally, biologically derived mulches that have decomposed give nutrients and organic matter to the land, increasing fertility and enhancing its structure.
Use mulch matting to keep flora in place on rocky terrain. Natural fibers from coconut, wood, and straw are used to make the matting. It does not impede plant growth and is environmentally friendly. Recall to frequently update your mats.
Cover walkways with pavers or rocks rather than allowing runoff from erosion caused by human activity. Soil is held in place by pavers and rocks, which prevent it from washing away.
6. Change to Minimum or no Tillage
Plowing is a widespread activity in conventional farming, but studies show that the no-till method can also assist prevent soil erosion because it disturbs fields less. Erosive processes take time to develop when soil aggregates and ground cover are almost completely unaltered.
7. Add Organic Material
Organic matter from digested animal dung and plant manure is a requirement for healthy soils. Numerous ways that organic matter reduces soil erosion:
- Provides crops with essential nutrients, causing the ground cover to be more robust;
- Enhances water retention qualities and reduces run-offs;
- Binds the earth’s particles to help it withstand currents and winds.
8. Avoid Soil Compaction and Overgrazing
- Soil Compaction
Hard soil produced by compaction causes surface runoff. Water merely rushes over the surface dirt instead of soaking it up.
Poor soil conditions might be a result of an excessive number of animals grazing in one area simultaneously. Rotating your grazing through several regions is a smart idea. This will give plants time to grow.
9. Create Diversions To Help Drainage
Making diversions enables water to be redirected and flow in the desired directions. Sandbags, crop rows, and terrace construction are the finest methods for creating diversions. It is advisable to use cobblestone, gravel, non-absorbent stone, bushes, or flowers while constructing a terrace.
Disadvantages of Erosion in the Farm
- Fertility Loss
- Elimination of Plant Life
- Stormwater Pollution
- Food Insecurity
- Soil Compaction
- Reduced Organic and Fertile Matter
- Poor Drainage
- Issues With Plant Reproduction
- Soil Acidity Levels
- Long Term Erosion
- Climate Change
- Clogged and Polluted Waterways
- Increased Flooding
1. Fertility Loss
It is well-recognized that soil erosion reduces soil fertility through several methods.
Topsoil removal is the most typical of the three. The loss of topsoil due to erosion is a key concern in sustainable farming, which has prompted the adoption and use of sustainable agricultural practices such as crop rotation, contour farming, conservation tillage, and cover cropping.
Along with topsoil, surface mulch can also be lost to erosion by water and wind. This mulch can take the shape of compost, naturally accumulating plant and animal biomass, or even leftover forest material.
Leaching, which can result from erosion, is the washing away and removal of soil nutrients by water. Leaching of chemical fertilizer and naturally occurring soil nutrients are included in this.
Soil and water contamination can result from the removal and relocation of soil fertilizer, which can lead to environmental degradation.
Other ways that erosion might change the soil’s composition result in decreased production. Acidification and salinization are two examples.
Finally, excessive compaction and inadequate drainage caused by erosion may lower soil fertility.
2. Elimination of Plant Life
Erosion of the soil can directly affect vegetation in addition to removing topsoil.
The effect on vegetation is influenced by the type of soil erosion involved, its intensity, the local terrain, and the properties of the soil and vegetation.
In this case, erosive agents target the plants that were cultivated to preserve the soil. Such plants’ roots and stems may sustain physical damage, uprooting, and displacement due to erosion.
It is significant to highlight that in natural ecosystems like grasslands, woods, and tundras, vegetation damage by erosive agents is uncommon. It happens more frequently in places where vegetation has been grown for ornamental, agricultural, and landscape management objectives.
3. Stormwater Pollution
The possibility of silt and pollution from the use of fertilizer or pesticides is increased when runoff from soils, especially those utilized for agricultural processes. Fish and water quality may suffer significantly as a result of this.
4. Food Insecurity
Humanitarian issues like food insecurity and hunger can be caused by soil erosion. The extent to which these issues may exist is typically determined by the level of deterioration brought on by soil erosion.
Erosion can reduce crop productivity by eroding topsoil, damaging the landscape, and promoting the occurrence of drought, salinization, and acidity. By using sustainable agriculture practices to protect soil, this effect can be minimized.
5. Soil Compaction
It is more difficult for water to penetrate these deeper strata of soil when it is compacted and stiff, keeping runoff at higher levels and raising the possibility of more severe erosion.
6. Reduced Organic and Fertile Matter
As previously indicated, the ability of the land to regenerate new flora or crops will be hampered by the removal of topsoil that is rich in organic matter.
Reduced amounts of organic nutrients are perpetuated when fresh crops or plants can’t be successfully planted in the region.
7. Poor Drainage
Sand can sometimes be compacted too much, creating an effective crust that seals in the top layer and makes it even more difficult for water to penetrate deeper strata.
Due to the tightly packed soil, in some respects, this can help with erosion, but if it continues to create higher amounts of runoff from rain or flooding, it may harm the vital topsoil.
8. Issues With Plant Reproduction
Wind, in particular, causes lighter soil qualities like new seeds and seedlings to be covered or killed when soil is eroded in active agriculture. This then has an effect on crop yield in the future.
9. Soil Acidity Levels
There is a greater likelihood of increasing soil acidity when the soil structure is damaged and organic matter is severely reduced, which will harm the ability of plants and crops to flourish.
10. Long Term Erosion
Unfortunately, it is more difficult to protect a region in the future if it is prone to erosion or has a history of erosion. It will be more difficult to recover in the long run because the procedure has already decreased the soil structure and organic matter in the area.
11. Climate Change
Since erosion damages land, fewer plants that can help absorb CO2 from the atmosphere may be supported there. In a single year, soils can store enough greenhouse gases (GHG) to equal around 5% of all GHG emissions produced by humans causing climate change.
According to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the soil is currently disintegrating up to 100 times faster than it is developing when it is being farmed without conservation methods.
Future temperature changes brought on by emissions will increase the likelihood of erosion, which will hurt human health, agricultural output, and land value.
The droughts and arid conditions the landscape experiences as a result of human exploitation of vulnerable ecosystems can be used to define desertification. For countries where deserts are expanding, effects include land degradation, soil erosion and sterility, and a loss of biodiversity.
Any area that may be utilized to cultivate crops is considered arable land. Many of the techniques utilized to cultivate those crops have the potential to destroy the soil’s agronomic qualities and cause topsoil loss.
13. Clogged and Polluted Waterways
Pesticides and fertilizer used on fields are washed into streams and other bodies of water together with soil that has eroded from the land. The local communities that rely on freshwater and marine environments may also be harmed by this sedimentation and pollution.
14. Increased Flooding
Crop fields and pastures are frequently created on land that was previously a forest or another type of natural landscape, including floodplains and wetlands. Since the modified terrain is less able to absorb water, flooding is more frequent. There are ways to maintain and restore wetlands as well as increase soil’s ability to hold water.
From the disadvantages of erosion shown in this article, I know you have been exposed to the dangers of erosion to farming lands and the surrounding environment which include the reduction in plant yield will result in famine in various countries.
Through this article, as we exposed the disadvantages of erosion, we also showed you how to prevent it. In fact, we showed you how to prevent soil erosion in farming before showing the disadvantages of soil erosion.
With this information given, you can restore your erosion-ravaged farmland into a productive and profitable one.
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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.