Soil erosion – Types, Causes and Prevention

Soil erosion is the process of detachment of soil from one place to another place.

It is the wearing away of land surface by the action of natural agencies, such as water and wind. It involves separation of soil particles by the action of these natural forces. Erosion can also be caused by living organisms such as burrowing animals and is referred to as bio-erosion.

Simply we can say that soil erosion is the displacement of top layer of the soil. It badly affect all landforms. In agriculture, soil erosion, displace the top soil of field which highly affect the farming activities because topsoil contains most fertile soil and nutrient rich materials.

Soil erosion

Soil erosion weather it is by water, wind or any other physical forces, involves three different actions:-

Soil detachment,
Movement and

Soil erosion is removal of the surface soil from any area denuded of its natural protective cover as a result of human and animal interference. Erosion extensively occurs in poorly aggregated soil. Erosion increase when soil remains bare or without vegetation.

It is very much occurs in the desert because the soil goes up from one place to another with wind. And in a place where there is no tree or grass, the soil of it also goes along with water and and flows further. Which is a form of soil erosion. Due to soil erosion, there are many losses like, if the fertile soil flows further, then the soil lost its fertility. That is why it is very important to prevent soil erosion.

At normal geological space, nature requires 1,000 years to build up 2.5 cm of top soil, but wrong forming methods may take only a few years to erode it from the lands of average slope. It is impossible to stop soil erosion completely, but can be minimised. Techniques to control the erosion usually result in maintaining or increasing soil productivity also.

Types of soil erosion

Sheet Erosion

The removal of a fairly uniform layer of surface soil by the action of rainfall and run-off water. This sheet erosion depends on the amount of runoff water and erodability of soil.

Sheet Erosion
Image Source:

Sheet erosion is generally occurs near the foothills of Himalaya, eastern and western Ghats. This type of erosion, though extremely harmful to the land, is usually so slow that the former is not conscious of its existence.

Its existence, however, can be detected by the muddy colour of the run-off arising from the fields.

Rill Erosion

Rill erosion is the removal of surface soil by running water, with the formation of narrow shallow channels that can be levelled or smoothed out completely by normal cultivation.

Rill Erosion
Image Source:

This type of soil erosion may be regarded as transition stage between sheet and gully erosion. Rill erosion occur when running water forms channel in the slope.

Gully Erosion

When rill erosion is neglected, the small grooves develop into wider and deeper channel known as gully erosion. Gully erosion is the advanced stage of rill erosion.

Soil erosion
Image Source:

They cut up large fields into small fragments and in course of time, make them unfit for cultivation. This gully erosion leads to the formation of bad land topography.

Gully erosion occur when running concentrated water flows strongly enough to separate soil particles. This type of erosion highly affect the soil productivity.

Stream Channel Erosion

This erosion is caused by river, stream. Cutting their banks and adjoining fields. This erosion occurs at the lower end of stream tributaries and streams that have nearly continuous flow and relatively flat gradient. Stream but erode either by run-off flowing over the side of the stream bank, or by scouring or undercutting.

Soil erosion
Image Source:

Raindrop Splash erosion

The soil splash caused by the impact of falling rain drops from upper to lower. Splash erosion result from the bombardment of the soil erosion because of rain drops, it us because the rain drop behave like a little bomb when falling in the soil.

Soil erosion
Image Source:


There are three major causes affecting the soil erosion are :
1. Wind
2. Water and
3. Human activities

1. Wind

Wind has caused an accumulation of eroded particles. Movement of soil particles is caused by wind forces exerted against or parallel to the surface of ground. After such movement is started, the soil particles are carried by the wind in three types namely saltation, suspension and surface creep.

Saltation – This is a process of soil movement in a series of bounces or jumps. Soil particles having sizes ranging from 0.05 to 0.5 mm generally move in this process.

It is caused by the direct pressure of wind on soil particles. After being pushed along the ground surface by the wind, the particles leap almost vertically in the first stage stage.

Suspension – Very fine soil particles, less than 0.1 mm in diameter, are carried into suspension, being kicked up into the air by the action of particles in saltation.
The movement of fine dust in suspension is completely governed by the characteristics movement of the wind.

Surface creep – Soil particles, larger than 0.5 mm in diameter but smaller than 1.0 mm, are too heavy to be moved in saltation, and are pushed along the surface by the impact of particles in saltation to form a surface creep.

The soil moved in saltation and surface creep usually remains within the eroded area, especially when erosive winds are from different directions.

2. Water

This is the very important agents for soil erosion as compared to other. It starts due to water when raindrops strike bare soil peds and clods, resulting the finger particles to move with the flowing water as suspended sediments.

The soil along with water moves downhill, scouring channels along the way. Each subsequent rain erodes further amounts of soil until erosion has transformed the area into barren soil.

3. Human Activities

Human activities such as deforestation, grazing etc. destroying our earth surface for self benefit. It is increasing day by day.

Overgrazing – Most of farmers graze too many animals such as sheep, ox, cattle, cow or goats on their land. This animals destroy the land surface by eating grass or vegetation.

This leads to the damaging of the soil structure as the level of nutrients is removed and it helps to unbalance the environment.

Cropping – According to the population, market demand is increasing each and every day. To fulfill this issue farmers produce more than vegetable crop continuously.

This constant cultivation of the land reduces the soils ability to produce valuable humus for soil fertility. The soil becomes drier and less fertile as well as it encourages the soil erosion.

Deforestation – The removal of forest trees by cutting and burning for fuel, agricultural use, industrial purposes etc. Due to deforestation, the soil becomes loose and the attraction of soil particles ends. Due to the weakening of the soil, air and water.


1. Forest Conservation – The roots of the trees bind the soil system due to the deforestation of the forest. This is the reason that the government has banned deforestation and declared them safe. This method of preventing soil erosion is suitable for all types of terrain and there is rain from them and these processes speed up the process of soil formation.

2. Control overgrazing – The vegetation cover ends up from the grazing, so that soil becomes lax. Water is easily drained to these soils. Plant cover can be saved from the planned grazing in these areas. With this method soil protection can be done by reducing soil erosion.

3. Flood Control – In the rainy season, the amount of water in the rivers increases and there is an increase in the erosion of soil. Bunds have been built on the rivers for flood control, it helps in preventing erosion of soil; floods can also be prevented by turning rivers of rivers into dry fields and other well planned methods of water conservation.

4. Plantation – We can encourage soil conservation by plantation. It can be done through plantation in the areas around the desert regions and in this way, planting trees on river basins and mountainous hills is a method of soil conservation. This reduces erosion in these places.

5. Creating a stair farm – By making terraced farms, the means are to create flat plots. If such potholes were made on the hillside, due to the level of slopes, soil erosion prevention would be done and the erosion process would be reduced so that proper utilization of water resources would be done and production of this area could also be done.

6. Contemporary Planting – This method of preventing soil erosion is most suitable for regions with floating land. By placing the land on the same height, the bulk of the solution becomes across the grid and it reduces the rate of erosion of the soil. This method is also helpful in maintaining moisture and fertility in soil.

7. Land Reclamation – This method of preventing soil erosion is most suitable for river valley and hill states. In this method, the erosion can also be stopped by placing the lands. In our country, the expanded areas of the islands of Chambal and Yamuna rivers have been leveled by this method.

8. Bondage – Soil erosion is being prevented by creating bond or obstruction in the land affected by avancala erosion. This method not only prevents soil erosion. But it helps in maintaining soil fertility. It also helps in conserving water resources and leveling the land.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here