Erosion is the process by which soil and rock are removed from the Earth's surface by natural processes such as wind or water flow, and then transported and deposited in other locations. While erosion is a natural process, human activities have dramatically increased (by 10-40 times) the rate at which erosion is occurring globally. Excessive erosion causes problems such as desertification, decreases in agricultural productivity due to land degradation, sedimentation of waterways, and ecological collapse due to loss of the nutrient rich upper soil layers. Water and wind erosion are now the two primary causes of land degradation; combined, they are responsible for 84% of degraded acreage, making excessive erosion one of the most significant global environmental problems we face today. Industrial agriculture, deforestation, roads, anthropogenic climate change and urban sprawl are amongst the most significant human activities in regards to their effect on stimulating erosion.
Contributions by Vsmith, Pollinator, and Violetriga.