The various agents of erosion, i.e., running water, winds, glaciers, etc. and now man with his technological tools are busy in destroying the soil.
The processes of soil erosion have played havoc with the Indian agriculture and forestry.
The following factors are responsible for soil erosion:
(i) Sand Storms.
Before the onset of rainy season sand storms are common. These storms take away the particles of the upper surface of the soil. The greater the intensity of these storms, the greater is the loss of the soil particles.
In this way the fertility of the soil is reduced. The soils of southern Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, U.P, Bihar, etc. are rendered unproductive every year by the blowing of sand storms.
(ii) Faulty Methods of Agriculture.
The older methods of agriculture are wasteful and have destroyed the soil cover in many areas.
The Jhooming as practised in northeastern states, the subsistence agriculture, etc. have rendered large fertile land almost barren. The scientific methods can prevent soil erosion to a great extent.
Man has been destroying forests without knowing the harm that is being done to preservation of soil. Due to the eroding away of the upper zone of vegetation cover the water starts flowing faster and destroys the soil.
It is estimated that the harm is to the extent of 300 tonnes per hectare. It is 68 tonnes per hectare in grassland areas and 4 tonnes in the forest areas. It is evident that the cover of forests, grasses and other vegetation is very important.
The goats, sheep, etc. are sworn enemies of soil. While grazing, they pull the roots of the plants out and thereby the soil becomes open to rapid erosion.
(v) Steep Slopes.
The steep slopes increase the speed of the flow of water and therefore, increase the erosion of soil. Such slopes should be covered with vegetation so that the fast flow of water is slack.
(vi) Forest Fires.
During the season when the fallen leaves on the ground are completely dry, a little spark can result in destruction of forest vegetation which may induce soil erosion in the rainy season.