Soil Erosion- The Ugly Truth
Soil Erosion – The Ugly Truth
Soils erosion is the process by which soil, is degraded and removed from its original place. Not a subject that is likely to be at the forefront of most people’s minds, but an important one nevertheless. Soil whilst all around us is rarely considered and yet is vital to our wellbeing if not our survival. The impacts of soil erosion and concerns about its effect on sustainable agriculture and food security are becoming more urgent, particularly when compounded by climate change.
We are all familiar with seeing soil run-off from fields whether into rivers- where it can cause significant damage to river eco-systems – or onto roads where it can be a nuisance, but the significance probably doesn’t register with most of us. The scale of soil erosion is staggering some 84% of fertile soil has been lost in the UK since 1850, that’s a layer of soil 1-3cm across the whole country that has been washed away, significantly reducing our ability to produce food. Although farmers have been able to make better use of technology to combat some of this loss, but aften at a cost to soil quality.
The UK is not the only country to be suffering significant soil loss. The UN states that soil erosion must be stopped ‘to save our future’ and tweets that ‘every 5 seconds the equivalent of one soccer field is lost due to soil erosion‘. This is especially important, because soil stores some 2,500 billion metric tonnes of carbon, that is nearly twice as much as the atmosphere and over four times the amount found in plants and animals, making soil our best ally to fight climate change. Soil takes thousands of years to produce and cannot just be replaced overnight, making it all the more important to protect and cherish what we have.