Erosion can disrupt an environment completely: less land, several necessary nutrients are taken from the environment, and erosion gets faster and faster as it wins its battle over land.
“Erosion is one of those problems that nickels and dimes you to death: One rainstorm can wash away 1 mm (.04 inches) of dirt. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider a hectare (2.5 acres), it would take 13 tons of topsoil — or 20 years if left to natural processes — to replace that loss,” David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell said. “And that kind of loss occurs year after year by wind and rain around the world.”
-ScienceDaily.com (citation with full article below)
Erosion is a natural part of the environment; it is when it interferes with human needs that it becomes “bad.”
Even when nutrient-rich materials like topsoil are removed by erosion, the nutrients are transported elsewhere – the loss in one place is a benefit in another. But that other benefit may not be something suitable to people.
Erosion becomes damaging most often when it is caused anthropogenically, by human interaction. Multiple damaging instances include, but are not limited to: off-road vehicles, mountain bikers, removal of trees or other smaller vegetation.
One effect an area that experiences a high amount of traffic by mountain biking: seedlings trying to grow cannot usually punch through the packed surface, but if they do a bike most likely rolls over them somewhere in the growth process. Prevention of this growth causes little to no vegetation to occur in focused areas. Plants roots act as very important anchors for soil remaining on the surface of an incline. Thus if there are no strong roots, soil will fall to gravity’s pull downward.
This is damaging to an ecosystem after multiple or extensive occurrences twofold: one, it begins tearing at the food web, starting with flora; and two, it can effect the microclimate of the area, and eventually the regional climate.
Erosion occurs naturally, but the contents of the erosion are not always natural.
Chemical fertilizers in eroded soil (and natural ones too, like manure) are not beneficial when they end up in ponds and lakes, increase bacteria, promote algae blooms, and otherwise degrade and destroy habitats for fish and other wildlife.
Careless, unregulated “landfilling” such as private dumps can also introduce unnatural substances into unexpected places when exposed and displaced by wind and water erosion.
When our chemicals, silt, industrial dust wash into rivers and ultimately into the ocean it’s “bad” for people who have the technology to recognize it. For those creatures and cultures who encounter it and suffer before they can adapt, it’s the worst.
An anthropocentric malthusian might be able to construe some benefit.
More info available in similar post ; Why is erosion an environmental problem. . .
Top soil is necessary for agriculture and growing any type of plant. When soil erosion takes place, the top soil is lost. This can hurt crops and create runoff. Runoff is a cause of water pollution, including drinking water, because it often comes from soil with contaminants. If pesticides or fertilizers were used, those chemicals could then end up in rivers, oceans, or your own drinking water due to runoff.
Read more: http://greenanswers.com/q/203128/nature-ecosystems/land-soil/how-soil-erosion-environmental-problem#214054#ixzz1AIbDGIzu
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