Increasing the cover of vegetation or litter, preferably both, is the most effective strategy for reducing erosion. Plants protect the soil with their canopy, add litter to the soil surface, and stabilise the soil with their roots. Litter on the soil surface reduces erosion. Soil erosion,
426 Toy et al, 2002.
427 Morgan and Rickson, 1995.
from water or wind, is reduced with strategies that accomplish the following:
1. Maintain or establish a cover of vegetation, especially when erosion is most probable. Although perennial plants are most desirable, annual plants may provide critical, short-term seasonal protection.
2. Create a ground cover of litter, rocks, woody debris, erosion matting, or other materials until vegetation becomes established.
3. Increase soil surface roughness with above-ground structures or soil surface manipulations (such as pits or furrows) that are perpendicular to water or wind flows. This increases infiltration, reduces water velocity, and increases the wind speed necessary to initiate saltation.
4. Reduce fetch length of unobstructed slope surfaces. This reduces the ability of water or wind to detach and transport soil particles and minimises opportunities for overland flows to coalesce and form larger rills and gullies.
5. Incorporate biomass into the soil where possible. Like the previous strategies, it increases the rate and capacity of infiltration, thus reducing the amount of water available for erosion. Biomass incorporation also stimulates plant growth and soil biotic development that improve soil structure and nutrient cycling.
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