Soil erosion refers to the soil being blown away by wind or being washed away by rain water. Soil erosion is a problem in many developed as well as developing nations, and most of the time this problem is caused due to bad or poor farming techniques and methods.
Usually soil erosion is prevalent in areas where trees have been felled to make space for crop cultivation, where there is drought or rural areas which are highly populated. In certain mountainous regions, soil erosion is a problem where the slopes of the mountains are very steep.
Soil erosion depletes the soil of the topsoil and hence, the soil loses its nutrients. It also causes the soil to become compact due to which it cannot be aerated and it loses it ability to retain moisture and water. However, this loss of soil can be overcome using good farming techniques. For instance, farming can be done on slopes using terraces, drought hit areas can use different irrigation systems to prevail over water shortage, and by planting more trees, it will bind the soil and also act as wind breaks. In rural areas that are highly populated and the soil is depleted of its nutrients, fertilizers can be added intensively to replenish the nutrients. Also, using crop rotation or contour plowing will help to keep the structure of the soil and prevent soil erosion.
One of the best examples of poor farming techniques leading to soil erosion is the mid-western states of the United States that are now known as the Dust Bowl of the nation. Way back in the 1930s, farmers used monoculture method of farming wherein they continuously grew just one type of plant. This method depleted the soil of its nutrients and once the crops were harvested, they were left bare and this resulted in soil erosion throughout the region. However, today, farmers all over the world are being taught to use polyculture wherein a variety of plants are grown together so that the soil gets back many of the nutrients that the plants use. Polyculture is a much sought after method of farming and it definitely help to maintain the soil structure and prevent soil erosion.
If good farming practices are not used and soil erosion is allowed to continue at its current rate in the US, it will lead to desertification.
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