Soil erosion occurs when something causes the soil to gradually wear away. Soil erosion usually removes the top layer of soil often causing the soil to dry out and crack. This results in plants dying. The most common causes for this is wind and rainfall.
Can plants stop soil erosion?
OUR ANSWER: We believe that plants can stop soil erosion. If a plant has large and sturdy enough leaves or petals, it may be able to act as a shield to protect the soil from wind and rainfall. We have done research and found out that roots can play a part in reducing soil erosion. It is said that the more plants there are in an area the more they reduce soil erosion. So it is smart to plant multiple plants to prevent and reduce soil erosion. We are going to test this by performing an experiment.
Why is soil erosion a problem?
Soil erosion doesn’t seem like a huge deal when we first hear of it. It seems kind of silly to conserve soil when we have plenty of it. One of the big problems is that many farmers crops get destroyed and the fertilizers and pesticides that the crops were given, will get washed away and will flow into rivers and other bodies of water. This is pollution and it will hurt fish and other creatures found in water. It can also cause mud slides or land slides and these issues are extremely expensive to fix. The United States alone spends thirty- eight billion dollars a year on these expenses.
We decided to conduct an experiment testing how well radish plants protect soil from erosion. We are going to put the equal amount of soil into two aluminum bread pans. In one bread pan we will put a few radish seeds and, the other will be left with the soil. We will water both evenly and put them into the same amount of sunlight. We will wait one week before testing the erosion. We will water both pans with water (to imitate rainfall) for the same amount of time. We will weigh the amount of soil that the “rainfall” washed away and which ever weighs less, protected the soil from erosion better.
- 2 bread pans (aluminum)
- 2 cake pans (aluminum)
- radish plant
- watering can / hose
- short plastic container
- Step 1: Equally distribute soil into both bread pans.
- Step 2: In one bread pan place the small radish plant and leave the other bread pan.
- Step 3: Wait for the radish plant to grow and equally water daily.
- Step 4: Place the bread pan on an angle above the cake pan and use a watering can to drench the soil and allow the soil to drip into the cake pan. Make sure that you drench both pans of soil for an equal amount of time.
- Step 5: Weigh the two cake pans with soil in them.
- Step 6: The pan that weighs less has been able to reduce more soil erosion than the pan that weighs more
So my partner and I researched any possible safety concerns during our experiment, and we found only one. It is that if we water the soil to test the erosion near a lake or body of water than the fertilizer could pollute the water. Other than that there wasn’t anything else that would be a concern. There were also no ethical/cultural/environmental issues, that we should be concerned about.