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Soil erosion

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Gravity erosion along the banks of a wadi, Makhtesh Ramon, Israel.

Soil erosion is the washing or blowing away (by wind or water) of the top layer of soil (dirt).

This is a serious problem for people who want to grow crops. Crops are the foods that farmers grow. If the soil has eroded, the crops will not grow very well.

Soil erosion was a big problem in the Midwestern United States in the 1930s dust bowl.

Erosion also leaves large holes in the earth, which can weaken buildings and even cause them to collapse.

Soil conservation

Soil erosion can be conserved in several ways.

  • Planting wind breaks can be effective. A wind break is a line of plants that are planted to stop or slow the wind. A thick row of bushes planted next to a field of plants can stop the wind from blowing the soil away. This method also helps against water erosion, as the soil gets caught up against the roots of the bushes, rather than washing away.
  • Terrace farming can also be effective. Terraces are level places that have been made by people on hill sides. People can cut level sides into the side of hills to create a place to grow crops.
  • If the crops are growing on a slope, then one should plant them in lines that run across, the slope, rather than up and down. So, if the slope goes downhill to the south, then the plants should be in rows that run from east to west.
  • To prevent decomposition the government can put up groynes (wooden planks) along the beaches, or they could build sea walls against the cliffs.
  • 5% in Australia is caused by rainfall.