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Prepare a on one form of soil degradation, its impact, methods that are being used to reduce or reverse its impac - Research Paper Example

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Name of Student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction Soil degradation is the process through which soil loses value and productivity as a result of exposure to human and environmental influences. There are many forms of soil degradation…
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Prepare a research paper on one form of soil degradation, its impact, methods that are being used to reduce or reverse its impac
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Download file to see previous pages The paper also presents various methods that are being used to reduce or reverse its impact. The relevance of soil erosion to the sustainable use of soil has been discussed. Soil Erosion Soil erosion is a phenomenon that has been taking place for many years. Loose soil on the earth surface is moved by water and wind especially where the ground is bare. As the soil is formed, it is moved away to a different place if it is not covered or held tight by vegetation (Toy et al 2002). Intense human activity has caused soil in the recent past to be moved at a higher rate than its formation. Some activities such as overgrazing and inappropriate farming practices have increased the vulnerability of soil to erosion. Soil that is left bare is carried away by strong wind or rainfall and deposited in rivers and water masses (Cox and Ashley 2000). Rain splash is among the causes of soil erosion whereby very strong rain drops fall on bare soil detaching and moving it for a short distance. The effects of splash erosion are usually in-situ since the soil is only moved over a minimal distance. Moreover, the rain must fall with significant intensity for erosion to take place. The soil is re-distributed on the surface unless if the area is sloping. Rill erosion may occur when the soil is moved along channels down slope. When the intensity of rainfall is high, the channels may enlarge to form gullies. Gulley erosion is more pronounced in many parts of the world and is associated with mass movement of soil (Bathgate and Pannell 2002). Generally, when the rain falls on soil, a substantial amount of water is absorbed until the soil is saturated. It takes time for the water to infiltrate and therefore the more time the water remains on the soil surface the greater the possibility of absorption. Soil erosion is mainly attributed to overland flow, which is the water that does not infiltrate in to the soil. This occurs mostly when the rainfall is sudden and with high intensity giving little time for absorption. Excess runoff is moved down slope by gravity and as rills converge at the bottom of the slope, larger gullies are formed and the overall result is high intensity of erosion and huge soil deposits down slope (Boardman 2006). Wind is also a significant cause of soil erosion especially in semi-arid areas. It redistributes soil and may also move it over a long distance. Soil with detached individual particles through human and animal activities is susceptible to wind erosion. Soil may as well move down slope through tillage (Troeh, 2003). This is usually attributed to wrong methods of plowing, such as contour farming down slope. Apart from moving the soil, tillage creates weakness in soil layers making them susceptible to other forms of erosion. Soil erosion may take place in a gradual and unnoticeable manner eventually causing significant impacts on the soil. In most cases, people tend to control soil erosion once it has occurred rather than putting preventive measures in place to avoid its occurrence (Abel 2001). Impacts of Soil Erosion Soil erosion is a major environmental problem in the current day since it does not only affect the productivity of land in-situ but also affects the environment ex-situ where the soil is deposited. It has been a significant contributor of flash floods in areas down stream as soil layers accumulate in river channels thereby raising the riverbeds. The result has been mass displacement of populations and damage of crops (Vaclav 2000). On the other hand, soil erosion ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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