Sample Essay on Effects of Soil Erosion on the Environment
Effects of soil erosion on the environment can be seen in different aspects. Environment can simply be defined as the surrounding. Soil erosion is the physical movement or wearing away of the surface of the earth by wind, water or ice. A report by the Cornell University indicates that soil erosion is causing ten to forty times movement of soil than the rate at which it is replenished. This is having significant impact on the environment.
Soil erosion carries away the top layer of soil which is the most valuable soil layer for the growth of plants. This layer comprises of nutrients that plants need to grow vigorously. When the top layer is carried away, gullies and rills are developed and these make the growth of plants difficult.
Without the top layer, soil ability to provide nutrients and store water that plants need to grow is reduced. Chemical and physical properties of the subsoil are exposed to more agents of soil erosion. Thus, soil that was initially important for crop or agricultural production with time it becomes unproductive.
Soil erosion also affects the downstream waterways where the soil that is carried away is deposited. The carried soil results in siltation of the water storage and watercourses. In some cases, waterways are blocked by the soil deposited through soil erosion.
The soil contains pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and nutrients. These have several effects on the aquatic life. For instance, fertilizer in the soil causes growth of algae in the water bodies which can affect fish and other organisms in the water as they compete for oxygen. Chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides in the soil can kill the living organisms in the water bodies. Thus, soil erosion affects the quality of water and aquatic life.
Soil erosion also affects the infrastructure. In some places, soil erosion has resulted in major destruction of roads and dams. There are also places where buildings have been damaged by soil erosion. People have been forced to migrate in their living places by the impacts of soil erosion.
Soil erosion also affects the topography of some places. Carrying away of soil in some places and deposition in others have affected the natural topography. In some places, no economic activities can be carried because the soil has been rendered unproductive by soil erosion. When plants are planted in some places, soil erosion carries them away leaving the soil bare.
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