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Soil Erosion: Effects, Parts and Types

Grade 10
Aug 24, 2022

System Interactions – Soil Erosion  


Soil is a natural resource. Soil is Earth’s delicate part that holds all life present on Earth. It consists of many species that helps to create a dynamic ecosystem. It is one of the very important resources of a human being. Topsoil is closest to the surface of the land. Soil consists of very useful nutrients for the proper growth of crops. The soil layer can be lost or reduced by wind erosion and water erosion. Soil erosion reduces soil fertility which has a negative effect on crop production. Soil erosion sends soil-filled water downstream, which can create thick layers of sediments that stop the smooth flow of streams and rivers, and ultimately it leads to flooding.   

Erosion is a physical process in which soil, rock, and other surface materials are removed from one place and transported to another place. 

1: Erosion 

Effects of soil erosion 

Soil erosion is a natural process. In the process of soil erosion, topsoil – the uppermost layer of the ground moves from one place to another. Topsoil is the fertile soil with the highest content of organic matter and is suitable for farming and other fertile activities. Due to this, soil erosion has a great impact on agricultural land and farmers.  

Erosion lowers the quality of land, so it can support fewer plants that can take in climate-warming carbon dioxide. Soil erosion not only reduces the fertility of the soil but it also causes pollution and sedimentation in rivers and streams and blocks the waterways. This causes a reduction in fish population and other species. Eroded land is often less able to hold water which can make the floods situation worst. Sustainable use of land can help to decrease the impact of agriculture and livestock by preventing soil degradation, soil erosion and loss of precious land.  

Topsoil gets exposed when farming activities are carried out and is usually blown away by wind or washed away by rain. When soil erosion takes place, the movement of the loose topsoil is typically done by either a natural process – such as by the movement of wind or water or by the human impact through tilling farmland.   


There are three parts to the process of soil erosion:  

  1. Detachment: In the process of detachment, the topsoil is actually “detached” from the rest of the ground.  
  1. Movement: It is the movement of topsoil from one place to another.  
  1. Deposition: Settling or deposition of topsoil.  

Mainly water and wind are the agents of soil erosion. Sometimes soil erosion is a slow process that remains unnoticed, or it may take place at a faster rate causing severe loss of the topsoil layer. The loss of soil from agricultural land affects reduced crop production, low water quality and damaged drainage networks. 

Soil erosion by water 
 Wind Erosion 

The gradual reduction of soil erosion of topsoil in a geographic area can be caused by both natural and unnatural processes. It has a great effect on the inhabitants of an affected area. Soil erosion leads to water pollution in the nearby water sources and also affects crop productivity. The main crops that cause soil erosion very badly are coffee, tea, palm oil, soybean and wheat. 

Types of soil erosion 

Sheet Erosion: 

Sheet erosion occurs when heavy rain or runoff crosses a shallow surface and allow enough water to gather to drag the loosened soil particles from surfaces and sweep them away. 

 Sheet erosion 

Rill Erosion: 

Rill erosion leaves the ground marked with parallel lines of small, clear-cut channels. As water continues to move through these clear-cut channels, it starts to erode the nearby soil. Generally shallow rills can be removed by tilling, but if they’re left as, it is, they can form gullies. 

Rill Erosion 

Gully Erosion: 

If rills formed by rill erosion aren’t managed, the erosion will continue. The narrow strips of rills will be swept away, leaving one big scar behind. A gully erosion forms a channel that is too deep to be removed with normal tillage methods. 

 Gully Erosion 

Wind Erosion: 

Wind erosion plays a main role in dry and semi-dry areas. This results in crop damage, desertification and land degradation. 

Wind Erosion 

Splash Erosion: 

When raindrops fall on the soil splash erosion occurs. By splash erosion, soil break into small particles and it can be easily run off when wind or water goes into it.   

 Splash Erosion 

The hydrologic processes of rainfall and runoff play an important part in water erosion. The amount of runoff and rate of surface runoff can greatly affect erosion and transportation of sediments. 


  • It consists of many species that helps to create a dynamic ecosystem.
  • Soil consists of very useful nutrients for the proper growth of crops.
  • Erosion lowers the quality of the land.
  • In the process of soil erosion, topsoil moves from one place to another.
  • Water and wind are the agents of soil erosion.
  • Soil erosion reduces the fertility of the soil and also causes pollution and sedimentation in rivers and streams and blocks the waterways.
  • There are four types of erosions – Sheet erosion, Rill erosion, Gully erosion, Wind erosion, and Splash erosion.


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