Causes and effects of soil erosion

The process in which the disintegration of soil takes place is called soil erosion. Our earth is divided into different spheres like the hydrosphere, zero-sphere, etc. some parts of soil are completely covered with ice, these are called glaciers. Disintegration takes place in all these regions of soil. 

Types of Soil Erosion

There are different physical things that cause soil erosion.

Rainfall and surface runoff

The water of rainfall carries soil particles from the earth’s crust with it. Thus soil particles flow with water. There are different types of surface runoff.

Rivers and streams

The movement of water in hilly areas is upward or lower ward. There is a continuous flow of water in rivers and streams so, this movement of water causes erosion. The water from higher to lower position makes the soil intense and on the other case.

When water causes erosion upward, increase the areas into slope or pile. The primary step in this type of erosion is the upright motion of soil. The secondary or second phase makes valley-wide and makes a low water flowing site. Thus sedimentation starts and erosion takes place. In this case, the movement or flowing of water is directly proportional to sedimentation.


A very quick flow of water is called a flood. Floods are a very common cause of soil erosion floodwater take a huge mass of soil pile gradients with it. The faster flowing or running water of flood can also carry rocky or hilly places.


The moving air is called wind. Wind cannot be negligible from an erosion point of view. The wind is a real cause of soil integration, escaping of water from the surface of the soil, uprooting of plants, contamination of the atmosphere and damaging the crops wind carry soil particles away, form the surface of Earth. Wind causes the deficiency of minerals in the soil. Wind affects greatly in desert regions.

Factors affecting soil erosion


Rainfall is a very important factor regarding soil erosion with the H2O. The quantity of water of rainfall is noticeable as a concern of disintegration point of view. The quick rainfall in barren land causes much destruction.

Temperature also plays a significant role because it impacts on plants and property of land. The speed of droplets of water of rainfall is a key thing. The effect of high-speed drops is greater than low-speed drops.

Soil structure and composition

The arrangement and constituent of the soil are vital things in the description of the erosion of soil by rainy water. The floor of soil which has a high content of silicates of aluminum contend to erosions effect on the other hand the soil with a lower amount of clay does not oppose erosion at a high percentage. The land has a higher value of minerals contend more to disintegration.

Water holding capacity is very vital. The land which has a higher content of H2O more will be erosion. Wetlands are affected harshly by land erosion.

Plant covering

The areas which are highly vegetated resistant to erosion plants opposed the wind, thus stunned the disintegration of the land. Vegetation makes a compact pellet inland by their bases cutting of trees faster the degree of erosions.

Topography of land

The hilly areas are more affected because of the force of gravitation. The degree of erosion in plains is lower than that of rocky hills.

Anthropogenic activities and soil erosion

Uses of land for agriculture

Vegetation is destructed due to agriculture purposes Heavy and advanced machinery is used nowadays for cultivation. The process of Ploughing gives space to water for erosion. The extensive use of chemicals makes eliminates all soil living creatures.

The land is make irrigated, which lost its binding structure. The loss of many important minerals. Ploughing changes the land into many tiny fine fragments. Which could have been picked by the action of air. The increase of barren land provides the wind more space to run at faster rates. These all things promote the disintegration of the land.


Cleaning or cutting of forests for various purposes is called deforestation. The forest has a rich content of nutrients. There are different layers of the plant covering from soil to peaks of vegetation.

The leaves of plants from the cover of land. These leaves are rich in organic materials. Thus piles of leaves gather over the surface of the land, in this way underneath the base of land.

This layer holds the droplets of water. These droplets seep slowly down the layer and then top the soil. In this way covering is protected from the flow. The vegetation layering slows down the speed of droplets. The base layer makes safe land from erosion. The upper cover of plants also reduces the intensity of rainfall.

When forests are cleared disintegration increases. The base layer of leaves became out of the pictures. There will be no plants, which fallen leaves to from base covering. In these circumstances, disintegration starts.

Roads and urbanization

Spreading of urban areas affects on disintegration of land. The main and vital harm of this process is that the base layering of soil has washed. Lowering the seeps of H2O. 

Climate change

The temperature of the earth is increasing gradually, and the warming of a blanket of air around the soil. This change in temperature stimulates the water cycle and increases the precipitation. The increasing rate of precipitation will increase the erosions rate.


Agriculture and industries cause pollution in aquatic conditions. These are the major source of contamination of water. This contamination increases the diffusion of water into the soil. The solid matter in the floor of soil flow. These solid masses of matter are called sediments.

Thus these masses also work as contaminators. So when flowing or moving with water carries much other toxic material with it.

Airborne dust pollution

Fast-moving air takes up land grains and carries them into the atmosphere. In the atmosphere, these particles are mixed with hazardous materials. Thus air becomes polluted. This reduces the precipitation and alters the basic coloration of the upper atmosphere of the earth. As a result redness of the sun is increased.

Prevention and remediation of soil erosion

The best way to prevent the disintegration of soil is to grow more and more plants. vegetation rapidly covers the base of land with the leaves. This will reduce air and water disintegration of soil.

Reviewed by:
Dr. Muhammad Khalid Mukhtar (Ph.D.)
University of Sargodha, Sargodha

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