Erosion: Accelerated

Authored by: J. Kent Mitchell , Michael C. Hirschi

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120010088

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Abstract

Without human interference, geologic erosion would occur at a low rate on level land; and on gentle slopes, erosion would only be a minor problem. Agriculture and urban development has replaced protective cover with plants that are of more value to man. However, such plants often do not cover the soil as effectively as the natural growth. The result is that accelerated erosion may increase to destructive proportions on some soils, carrying away topsoil and nutrients, washing pollutants into streams, filling waterways with sediment, and reducing the natural productivity of the land. To understand the problem, this entry looks at some of the mechanisms of erosion.

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