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Soil erosion is common in areas devoid of vegetation cover. Why?

Last updated date: 15th Jun 2024
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Hint: Soil erosion refers to the wearing away of the top layer of soil. Factors factors affect soil erosion. Vegetation is one of the factors which affects the process of soil erosion. Vegetation refers to the flora grown in a given area.

Complete Answer:
- Soil erosion is becoming a global issue and we can see its traits everywhere we go. It doesn’t matter whether it's within the rural or urban settings, erosion affects even untouched soils of pristine natural areas.
- The reason for this is that erosion is caused by numerous factors, originating from both natural processes and human activities. Sometimes many of the factors act together affecting the health of the soil.
- Plants and trees help in stabilizing the soils and protect them from the direct exposure to rain or wind. In fact, vegetation is one among the best tools within the prevention of abrasion. It slows down surface runoff, enabling better water infiltration into the soil. It also shields the soil from raindrops and breaks down the wind before it can reach the soil with complete power.
- Soil is best held by the roots of the plants and trees. When a neighbourhood gets flooded, most of the vegetation is stripped away, which leaves originally covered soils fully exposed to the erosive force of rain. Unless protective measures are taken, the land will suffer even more damage with every new rainfall.

Additional information: Some of the other causes of soil erosion include:
Rainfall and floods- Water is one of the strongest erosive agents that has a great potential to disturb the soil surface. Depending on the duration and intensity of a rainfall, soil erosion can be of following types:
1. Splash erosion
2. Sheet erosion
3. Rill erosion
4. Gully erosion

i. Wind- Erosion by wind may be a common sight in dry and barren areas where vegetation doesn’t hold soils intact. One of the most common examples is the formation of sand dunes. Wind erosion does not only leave behind nutrient deprived soils that cannot support living vegetation, and thus make the situation even worse, but it also leads to a more serious problem in the long term such as desertification.

ii. Climatic conditions- The amount and intensity of precipitation, number of windy days, wind power, droughts, flooding or sudden weather changes. All these factors and their combinations can cause erosion under certain circumstances. This means that some climates actually create perfect conditions for soil erosion, be it because of exceptionally heavy rains and flooding, or prolonged droughts and strong winds.

Note: The areas with less vegetation are more prone to soil erosion as the plants hold the soil in place and enrich the soil with different nutrients timely. This leads to the proper maintenance of the soil. Afforestation and growing new plants can improve the soil quality thus leading to decreased soil erosion.