How Does Erosion Affect the Earth?

Soil erosion has different effects depending on the type of erosion. Water erosion leeches nutrients from the soil and lowers water quality. Wind erosion lowers air quality and damages plants.

Water erosion is more commonly seen than wind erosion. Water erosion directly affects the immediate area surrounding the eroded location and passively affects areas where the water flows. In the immediate area, soil loses its nutrients and minerals, which harms plants growing from the soil since they are unable to get the food they need to survive. Erosion also damages the structure and stability of the soil, which leads to much more damaging effects, such as trees falling, rock slides and landslides. These negative effects can be seen in a short span of time, such as after a bout of heavy rain.

Wind erosion is also dangerous, but is overlooked and generally more subtle in most areas. Wind erosion picks up small bits of sediment that hit any obstacles in its path. This means that plants and crops are in danger from this type of erosion. The wind picks up loose particles, which damage the structure and stability similarly to water erosion, making it easier for later wind to pick up more particulates. These particles damage plants and, in extreme cases, can bury small plants completely. The particles in the air are also damaging to humans and animals.