What is Erosion | What County

What is Erosion

Erosion is the process by which loose rock and soil is eroded by running water, wind, sun, ice or by anthropogenic influences.

If soil is washed away by water, then one speaks of linear erosion. The most famous example of this are our river valleys, which have dug into the depths for a long time. The removal of soil by wind and ice is called areal erosion. However, there are also overlaps, e.g. in the case of extensive erosion by the sea surf.

What is Erosion
What is Erosion
Erosion
Erosion

Soils are strengthened by plants and their root network, so the surface is protected from erosion. Areas in which the plants and trees have been removed by natural causes (fires, storms, etc.) or by large-scale clearing are therefore more susceptible to erosion. On these bare, unprotected areas, the soil is washed away in the rain. And with it also a lot of nutrients. Once the nutrient-rich upper layers of earth and rock have been eroded, the ecosystem and the landscape change. The already heavily stressed, compacted and leached soils, on which intensive agriculture is practiced, are again particularly susceptible to erosion.

Basically, erosion by both water and wind is a naturally occurring process, triggered by factors such as precipitation, wind, slope and susceptibility of soils to erosion (see also UBA topic pages “Soil erosion by water” and “Soil erosion by wind”). The risk of soil erosion, taking into account only the natural influencing factors, is referred to as the potential risk of erosion. The most important natural influencing factors are the nature and composition of the soil, the nature of the terrain and climatic conditions. However, it can be assumed that erosion does not occur significantly with naturally formed year-round plant cover. In the currently observable proportions, soil erosion in Central Europe is only made possible by human action, the main cause being the cultivation of our food. In combination with the natural influencing factors, the management-related influence reflects a measure of the actual risk of erosion.

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