Causes And Consequences Of Soil Erosion. Essay

2036 WordsMay 4, 20129 Pages
‘Outline the causes and consequences of soil erosion, commenting on the prospects for world agriculture if current rates of soil loss continue.’ Soil erosion is the gradual process of soil sediments and particles, predominately topsoil, being moved via the elements of water and wind to other areas. Ecologically, endangered species of animals and plants are generally recognised as important to conserve. However the importance of keeping soil fertile is often times ignored and it is viewed simply as dirt, a renewable resource we will never run out of. Contrary to popular belief soil is technically a non-renewable resource, due to the fact it is being eroded at a much higher rate than it can regenerate itself (the US Department of Agriculture estimates soil on cultivated land is eroding 16 times faster than it can be renewed [Miller, 2002]). This essay investigates the causes, both human-induced and natural of soil erosion, the consequences, and the effects it has had and could have on world agriculture. The initial blame for the extensive erosion of soil around the globe falls on humans and their practices, particularly farming. The fact that 90% of all food consumed by humans is produced on land (Mackenzie, 2001) shows how much we depend on farming and therefore raises questions about how we farm and the effects it has on our land. Often enough, conservation methods are not invested in because the economic costs outweigh any initial benefits the farmer may gain; for example winter cereals in the UK, which encourage farming in fragile areas (during the season that erosion is at its greatest) because of the high price of wheat (Mackenzie, 2001). Farmers tend to be unaware of the techniques they could be practising to preserve the work nature has accumulated over hundreds of years – perhaps due to lack of education about the issue – and instead continue improper

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