A loss of soil, due to a process called erosion, is a more serious problem than many people realize. Each year, thousands of tons of essential soil are lost globally. The problem is, these losses are occurring faster than soils can be replenished through natural processes that take hundreds of years. The consequences of soil erosion can be dire: lesser crop productivity, reduced property values, and damaged ecological systems. In addition, eroded soils end up the wrong places, namely ending up as increased sedimentation of waterways, rivers, and lakes.
When examined microscopically, soil shows itself to be a widely varied complex structure that is not simply degraded rock with organic matter. Its primary role in nature is storing water and releasing nutrients to plants, a process that is essential to virtually every living thing. As one of the primary elements of healthy, functioning ecosystems, soils are a crucial link in the chain of life on earth. Soils, simply put, are more than the essential ingredients to growing our crops and supplying the lumber to build our homes.
Conserving soils is every bit as important as protecting water and air quality. Knowing how soil erosion occurs can give you the ability to take an active role in protecting this crucial natural resource. The global loss of healthy, productive soil has the potential to create worldwide famine, among other severe environmental catastrophes. Regardless of whether you are a home gardener or farmer, there are measures you can take to help reduce the destructive processes of soil erosion.