Effects of Soil Erosion

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Effects of Soil Erosion by Farms on the Environment and Some Solutions Traci Kramer
Harrisburg Area Community College

Table of Contents
Abstract……………………….. Pg 3
Introduction…………………. Pg 4
Causes………………………….. Pg 4-5
Land Affects…………………. Pg 5
Water Affects………………. Pg 5-6
Chemicals…………………….. Pg 6
Lancaster County…………. Pg 6
Prevention…………………… Pg 7
Damage Control…………… Pg 7
Conclusion……………………. Pg 7-8
References…………………… Pg 9

Abstract
This paper will go in depth on soil erosion caused by farms. It will primarily look at how soil erosion from farms can affect the environment. The paper will then go in depth with seven supporting questions which include, what causes erosion, how erosion from runoff affects the land, how it affects watersheds, the chemicals that are caused by erosion, how it affects us locally, ways to prevent it, and ways to clean up what has already been done.

Effects of Erosion on the Environment and Some Solutions
Erosion affects each and every individual all over the world. You may be asking yourself how when you do not farm or have anything to do with farming. Well soil erosion can cause a whole lot of problems not just for farmers but for us as well. The soil gets into our rivers and streams and can end up in our drinking water. It can also cause a decrease in grown food. SO the real question is how does soil erosion affect the environment? Because what affects the environment also affects us. In the United States approximately 90% of all farmland loses topsoil to erosion 17 times faster than it can be replaced (Miller, & Spoolman, 2009). So what causes soil erosion? Soil erosion can be from both nature and man. Some natural ways erosion can be caused include droughts, high winds, large rainfall amounts, flowing water, and soil erodibility. Droughts can cause extremely dry lands which naturally dry out the soil and allows for wind to pick up that soil. Large rainfall amounts can the soil to runoff into streams or other water sources. Flowing water will carry away any loose soil (Miller, & Spoolman, 2009). Soil erodibility is the soils natural tendency to resist erosion. So nature does its part to cause erosion but farmers can have a huge effect on erosion ("Soil erosion- causes," 1987). Today it is estimated that about only 50% of U.S. farmers use effective soil conservation techniques. Farmers that are plowing and tilling their soil tear the soil apart and make it easier for rain water or winds to pick up the soil. Another bad practice is to not give the soil time to restore itself. Often farmers are planting on the same plot of land so often that all the nutrients are lost and the soil begins to erode. Another problem is excessive irrigation. By putting too much water on the land it allows for soil to be carried off into streams or worse you run the risk of salinization of your crop land (Miller, & Spoolman, 2009). There are some major problems soil erosion can cause to the land. One problem is desertification. Desertification affects approximately 250 million people in the world due to the loss of nutrient in soil and also causes a reduction in land productivity (Okin, Parsons, Wainwright, Herrick, & Peters, 2009). In 1973 due to drought and poor farming techniques, which caused erosion, in West Africa over 100,000 people died due to desertification ("Desertification,"). Desertification can affect many different parts of an ecosystem such as animal biodiversity, plant biodiversity, land production, nutrients in soil, and the climate (Li, Zhao, Liu, & Huang, 2009). Another major problem soil erosion can cause to the land includes chemicals. In China they monitored to see what happens when the soil became eroded. They found that soil carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous had severely dropped. This impacted soil erodibility, plant diversity, and the overall ecosystem (Li, Zhao, Liu, & Huang, 2009). Top soil erosion will also affect water sources. 70% of the world’s...
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