Soil Erosion / Erosión de Suelo

Soil erosion is the movement of soil from one place to another through weathering or mass wasting typically attributed to wind or water1. Some erosion is natural, but it can also be caused by human activity such as the disturbance of natural ecosystems where plants help to anchor the soil, and the loss of the natural capital through farming, logging, construction, overgrazing, and off-road and all-terrain vehicles use1. In the US, land is eroded approximately 16 times faster than the soil can form and about much of that soil ends up in a body of water, contributing to water pollution1.

In the Willamette Valley, the greatest erosion occurs wherever logging or development has greatly impacted the land2. The silt and soil runoff greatly threatens the health of the Willamette Valley watershed2. Native plants, with a diversity of root and plat structures, are essential to prevent soil erosion2. In addition, farmers plant cover crops and erosion control seeds.

In order to prevent erosion, different agriculture practices can be put to use. Cover crops, no-till farming, and green manure help protect the soil from wind and water, maintaining its stability3 Converting sloped land into broad terraces, contour farming, planting in rows on a hill rather than up and down, alternating strips where the soil is completely covered, and using trees as windbreaks are all forms of reducing soil erosion 1.

Soil Erosion / Erosión de Suelo Translation Needed

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1. Miller, T.G. (2007) Living in the Environment, Fifteenth Edition (Canada: Thompson).
2. Bobsy Dell Natives (no date) Plant Oregon. Grow Native. Available at (accessed August 2009).
3. Lang, S. (2006) 'Slow, insidious' soil erosion threatens human health and welfare as well as the environment, Cornell study asserts. Available at (accessed August 2009).

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