Animals have a direct impact by burrowing and excavating for food, as well as an indirect impact by exposing the ground to climatic and geomorphic forces, such as rain splash, needle ice, and wind erosion. The importance of this synergy in alpine erosion cannot be overstated. Moles and prairie dogs, for example, work to break up rock and soil by tunnelling underground. Other animals excavate and trample rock above ground, causing it to disintegrate over time. The molecular structure of rocks and soil is altered by chemical weathering. In this article, you will get to know about the soil erosion causes, how to prevent soil erosion and how do animals cause erosion.
1. What is Soil Erosion?
Soil erosion is the process of the upper layer of soil being depleted. It’s a type of soil deterioration. The dynamic action of erosive factors, such as water, ice, snow, air, plants, and animals, causes this natural process. As a result of this process, soil particles loosen and are carried away in valleys, oceans, rivers, streams, and other locations. Agriculture and deforestation, for example, have aggravated the problem. To get the answer to how do animals cause erosion, read till the end. (See What are the Uses of Soil?)
2. What are the Causes of Erosion?
The following are some of the major causes of soil erosion:
- Agriculture: Soil erosion is primarily caused by farming methods. Agricultural operations cause soil disturbance. The trees have been cut down, and the soil has been ploughed in preparation for the planting of new seeds. During the winter, the majority of the soil is eroded. Must read what are the weeds with purple flowers called?
- Flooding and rainfall: Soil erosion is mostly caused by increased rainfall intensity. Showers spread the soil, which is washed away into nearby streams and rivers. Soil loss is common in areas where rainfall is very heavy and regular.
- Mining and logging: To complete the logging operation, a vast number of trees are cut down. Trees strongly hold the soil in place. The tree canopy shields the soil from heavy rainfall. Mining activities also cause ground disturbance and make the soil more prone to erosion.
- Streams and rivers: The soil particles are carried away by moving rivers and streams, resulting in a V-shaped erosion pattern.
- Strong Winds: The wind carries the minute soil particles to faraway locations during dry weather or in semi-arid zones. As a result of soil degradation, desertification occurs. Also, check out what are physical resources?
3. How does Deforestation cause Soil Erosion?
Before you read how do animals cause erosion, you must know that Deforestation is a major, if not the primary, source of soil erosion. Trees and their roots provide an anchor for the soil as well as protection from the wind and rain. Without plant cover, erosion can occur, washing the land into rivers. The agricultural plants that frequently replace trees can’t cling to the soil, and some of them, like coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybeans, and wheat, can actually exacerbate soil erosion. Also, check out What is Sustainability and Why is it Important?
4. How does Water cause Erosion?
When rain or snowmelt displaces the soil on the ground, this is known as water erosion. More soil particles are displaced or transported away when more water flows across the area. Water erosion is especially dangerous on land that has no vegetation, such as farm fields that have been left bare after crop harvest. Rainfall, runoff, melting snow or ice, and irrigation all contribute to soil separation and movement, resulting in water erosion. (See How Does Cactus Grow in Desert?)
5. How does Wind cause Erosion?
Strong winds blow through dry soil on unprotected surfaces, causing wind erosion all around the world. Soil particles are blown away from the surface by the wind. These particles are suspended in the air and/or roll along the soil surface once they have been separated. By pushing the dirt around, the wind produces erosion. As a result, wind erosion can occur anywhere and at any moment while the wind is blowing. (See How Convection Current causes the Lithospheric Plate to move?)
6. How do Animals cause Erosion?
The animals’ hooves rip the plants out by the roots when there are too many animals grazing on the same patch of ground. So it becomes overgrazed when there are too many animals on a patch of land. Erosion can occur if grazing animals are allowed to overgraze and remove too much or all of the vegetation in a pasture. (See Where do Cows Live?)
7. Examples of Erosion by Animals
Some animals scrape rocks as they eat, which helps to weather the rocks. Other animals alter the surface of the Earth by digging into it and moving things around. When there are too many animals in one region, the majority of the plants are destroyed, resulting in rapid erosion. Also, check out what is the largest Cattle Ranch in the United States?
8. How do Human Activities affect the Rate of Erosion?
Besides, how do animals cause erosion, according to studies, humans are currently causing more erosion than natural processes. Because healthy forests and ecosystems are packed with plants, the roots of these plants hold soil in place, and deforestation can dramatically increase erosion rates. Erosion rates can be significantly influenced by agricultural methods. Certain practises are more likely to produce erosion than others.
Monocultures, rather than a variety of crops, contribute to erosion, as do other forms of intensive agriculture, in which soil nutrients are exhausted and the soil cannot recover between growing seasons. Chemicals used in agriculture can potentially contribute to greater soil erosion by disrupting soil organisms and changing the chemical makeup of the soil. (See What are the End Products of Photosynthesis?)
9. How do Living Things change Earth’s surface?
Weathering, erosion, and deposition are all caused by plants and animals.
- Water and wind can alter the Earth’s surface through these activities.
- Living creatures can sometimes slow or stop processes from taking place. Plant roots hold soil in place, beaver homes and human-built dams influence the flow of water, and plants’ respiration affects the air quality in their environments.
- Many types of rocks and minerals are generated from or affected by the remains of creatures. (See How does a Water Wheel work?)
10. How to prevent Soil Erosion?
As you already got your answer to how do animals cause erosion and how humans are responsible, note the following methods for avoiding and minimising the soil erosion causes:
- Excessive grazing should be avoided.
- Trees and plants are being planted.
- To keep any water or soil from washing away, stack a succession of fibre logs. Must read what are the uses of water in our daily life?
- Every home should have a proper drainage system in place to ensure that water flows into appropriate water collection systems. (Also read 12 Facts about Fog Breath)