Types of erosion impacting our sunburnt country2 mins read
We live in a sun-blessed country, with an ever-evolving landscape. Sustainable, natural and affordable erosion prevention materials, such as jute matting and coir fibre meshes, are now more readily available than ever. However, soil erosion continues to be a major issue in both urban and rural Australia, causing problems in agriculture and catchment management.
Studies show that around half of our continent suffers a medium risk of erosion. Broadly speaking, soil erosion can be classified as either wind or water erosion.
Wind erosion typically occurs in arid zones whereby large amounts of fertile topsoil are carried off by strong gusts and gales. This reduces the organic, productive value of the land. The causes of wind erosion are to lack of surface vegetation.
Water erosion is a much broader category. During periods of intense and heavy rainfall, the vulnerability of soil to erosion will come down to a few factors, such as:
- its clay content,
- the steepness of any slope; and
- length of a slope, which can cause running water to gather speed.
There are a few subcategories of water erosion:
- Sheet erosion – when the topsoil layer on hillsides erodes over time, it renders the paddock less arable.
- Rill erosion – small channels starting to form as water continually runs down the same path off a hillside, becoming deeper over time.
- Scalding – when erosion exposes the saline or sodic soils underneath, it leads to plant death and results in a hard and smooth surface that is impermeable.
All these catalysts also have a secondary impact, introducing high levels of sediment into streams, lakes and oceans, changing the ecosystem within our waterways.
The amount of vegetation cover is a major contributing factor to erosion control. To increase vegetation on exposed sites and reduce the risk of erosion Jute and Coir Matting should be used. Natural products such as jute matting act to prevent soil erosion by protecting exposed topsoils, acting as a sort of roll-on mulch, suppressing weeds and reducing evaporation. In doing so, it can encourage proper vegetation growth, which is the best barrier against any type of erosion. Coir Matting is an open weave which is terrific for trapping seeds giving them a secure place to germinate without being washed away.
The problem of erosion is part and parcel of what makes our wide brown land such a special place.