Causes of Erosion

Destructive erosion is a natural process. Rivers have always flooded and eroded the banks, intense storms have caused excessive runoff which has eroded soil and left it in a water way or pond. The problem is that many of mankind activities greatly accelerate natural erosion. The productivity of soil is destroyed by man-made or man-accelerated erosion that occurs from poor agricultural and construction practices. Land with permanent vegetation is very stable, but as soon as vegetation is removed, the soil is exposed to rainfall and other forces of nature and erosion accelerates. Activities such as the construction of roads and buildings, cultivation of fields, and timber harvesting all remove the natural protective cover. The two agents of erosion, water and wind, will be discussed in the next section, and then a method for estimating the amount of soil that is lost by water erosion will be illustrated.

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