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Soil Erosion by Wind & Water

The top few centimetres of soil is usually the most fertile and most valuable for crop and pasture production. While the loss of a few millimetres of soil during a heavy downpour or windstorm may not seem critical, the impact on farm productivity and fertiliser requirements over a generation can be devastating. Soil erosion down drainage lines and along watercourses causes additional problems such as vehicle access, stock mustering difficulties, increased fencing costs and reduced land value. It is also unsightly and may ultimately affect property values.

Simply planting trees might hide the problem from view, but solving an erosion problem generally requires more careful planning and design. The first step is to identify the type of soil erosion process:

Wind Erosion – loss of topsoil from open paddocks during strong winds.
Sheet and Rill Erosion – loss of surface soil during heavy rain from across a paddock.
Tunnel Erosion – piping of sub-soils down steep slopes.
Gully and Streambank Erosion – widening channels in drainage lines and along watercourses.
Landslips – mass failure of soils on steep slopes

Understanding the process can help identify where and how trees might be used as a solution.

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