When discussing environmental concerns, soil erosion is not the first issue that comes into mind. The world’s media focuses on fossil fuel problems, climate change, biodiversity and forest fires, while soil depletion is less spectacular and is seldom mentioned. However, societies in the past have even collapsed or disappeared as a result of soil erosion.
For centuries Easter Island was home to a remarkable civilization- the Rapa Nui. The Rapa Nui are renowned for carving giant statues out of volcanic rock. These monuments, known, as “moai” are some of the most incredible ancient relics ever discovered. However, within a few centuries this civilization was destroyed. Historians say that ninety per cent of the Rapa Nui died because of deforestation, erosion and soil depletion.
The Rapa Nui were not the only victims of soil erosion. It was also one of the reasons for the demise of the powerful Mayan civilization. In many ways the Mayans were way ahead of western civilization. They maintained accurate calendars, practised advanced astronomy and wrote thousands of books before Europeans. Ironically their prosperity paved the way for their destruction. As their civilization grew, the Mayans cut down the jungle canopy to make room for cities and crops. The resulting soil erosion, along with drought, were the key factors in their downfall.
Humans have been depleting the soil resources of Earth at a steady and alarming rate. Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. The UN estimates that 300 million hectares – an area big enough to feed Europe- has been so severely degraded that it cannot produce food.
The effects of soil erosion are far and widespread. While the loss of fertile land is the primary concern, soil erosion also leads to increased pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers. These sediments clog waterways and cause declines in fish and other species.
Soil erosion can also result in increased flooding. In 2010 and 2011 the Magdalena River in Colombia flooded affecting more than four million Colombians. Researchers found later that the Magdalena is filled with soil sediments and that this was the primary cause of the floods.
Humanity has to take immediate action against soil erosion. Promoting sustainable agriculture, reducing deforestation and preventing desert expansion are some of the key measures that we should take.
At CoirGreen(tm) we have always been driven to create products that are environmentally sustainable. Since our inception we wanted to be a responsible company and be an example to the wider society. This goal led the way to the creation of many products that actively prevent soil erosion. These include Erosion Control Blankets, Geotextiles,Coir Logs, Coir Pallets, and Jute Products; all which have been proven successful in countering soil erosion.