How does soil erosion occur

What can be done against soil erosion?

A sufficient and dense covering of the soil surface with plants or plant residues over the year is the best protection against water and wind erosion

Land cover is the be-all and end-all.

Dense forests and meadows optimally protect the soil. The selection and cultivation sequence of crops with a good protective effect for endangered areas are important and possible. Summer crops that are far apart, such as corn, sugar beet and sunflowers, but also summer cereals with a shorter growing season, do not protect the soil much; damage occurs every year. Winter cereals and perennial forage plants provide good protection. Therefore, the time should generally be reduced as much as possible in which the soil is not sufficiently greened or covered with plant residues after the harvest.

Brake the windbreaks.

Woods in the fields fulfill many functions in arable areas. They improve the microclimate, accommodate rare plants and animals and increase the aesthetic value of landscapes. However, they have a special protective function in regions with wind erosion. Windbreak hedges achieve this protective effect if they are designed in three rows, made of bushes and trees, blown through and transverse to the main wind direction. This allows the openness to the wind, the winds and the wind energy on the ground to be reduced.

Vineyards are also protected.

With special crops such as vines, hops and field vegetables that thrive either on steep slopes or with large row spacings, you can see more and more mulch from residues or strips of green between the rows and vines. This significantly reduces the soil erosion, which previously could only be countered by building terraces or creating large amounts of eroded soil.

Soil cover despite tillage

Mulch sowing methods effectively increase the soil cover: if maize or sugar beet, rape or sunflowers and grain are sown into the plant residues of the previous crop (straw, frozen winter catch crops) without plowing beforehand, these remaining residues between the rows are also found in crops that are otherwise poorly covered a good protection against water and wind erosion. The total renouncement of the plow and ideally the direct sowing are not possible on all locations or are often only bought with an increased use of pesticides. Therefore cultivators are often used. More on this under "Soil-conserving agriculture".

Green valley paths

In arable land, there are often "valley paths" that are predetermined by the development of the landscape, in which the runoff is particularly intense, because many gullies and ditches meet there. These hollow areas should be permanently removed from the cultivated area and planted with arable crops and greened. This considerably reduces the effect of water erosion.

Protection of streams and lakes

When soil is transported by water and / or wind erosion, nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen are also shifted. What is needed for plant growth in the field harms the flora and fauna in streams, rivers and lakes. Because incalculable erosion paths can occur again and again, the banks of water in the immediate vicinity of the erosion areas must be protected from sediment input. This is done by means of waterfront strips or protective plantings, which act as retention and filters.

Permanent change of use

If valuable bodies of water are to be protected that are located in sloping areas of useful land that are at risk of erosion, a change in use must take place. Maize, sugar beet, potatoes, sunflowers, rape and summer cereals have no place in such areas. The slopes and hollows close to the water have to be redesigned as permanent grassland with extensive use; winter grain or perennial forage can grow on somewhat remote areas in the catchment area.