Erosion and soil erosion

Apart from the natural processes of soil formation and soil degradation/erosion, human activities are fostering soil erosion and degradation. Thus, the differentiation between erosion and soil erosion is important, especially for management purposes:

  • Erosion: Under natural conditions erosion causes a levelling of relief.

  • Soil erosion: Due to man‘s activities the natural erosion gets enforced, now called soil erosion.

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Sheet and rill erosion in Iowa, USA.
Sheet and rill erosion in Iowa, USA.
Image Credit: Lynn Betts, USDA-NRCS, 1999 http://http://photogallery.nrcs.usda.gov/netpub/server.np?find&catalog=catalog&template=detail.np&field=itemid&op=matches&value=2959&site=PhotoGallery

Sheet erosion: Soil removed in a uniform layer, lowest movement of water

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Rill erosion in Iowa, USA.
Rill erosion in Iowa, USA.
Image Credit: Lynn Betts, USDA-NRCS, 1999 http://http://photogallery.nrcs.usda.gov/netpub/server.np?find&catalog=catalog&template=detail.np&field=itemid&op=matches&value=2953&site=PhotoGallery
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Gully erosion in western Iowa, USA.
Gully erosion in western Iowa, USA.
Image Credit: USDA-NRCS, 1999 http://http://photogallery.nrcs.usda.gov/netpub/server.np?find&catalog=catalog&template=detail.np&field=itemid&op=matches&value=2951&site=PhotoGallery
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(Figure: B. Schütt)