International Soil Conservation Day: The Impact of Erosion

    It seeks to recognize the importance of the earth in the environmental balance

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    Productive soil is the foundation of sustainable agriculture without which there can be no prosperity or progress, On International Soil Conservation Day, a call is made to remember the importance of this resource for human survival.

    This celebration, which was established 59 years ago in honor of Hugh Hammond Bennett, highlights the benefits of properly operating soils, which comprise a complex system with numerous chemical, physical, and biological processes. Many causes degrade soil conditions, erosion is one of the main ones.

    What is erosion

    Erosion is the process of wear of the earth’s surface that can be caused by geological actions such as water currents, climatic by rain or wind, and human actions such as agriculture, and deforestation, among others. The expansion of cities that lack self-sufficient buildings can deepen the problem.

    One of the great current challenges is how we build climate-resilient cities, and in fact, this includes the actions we carry out in terms of soil protection since the actions we take as humanity can expose it to greater or lesser erosion, shares.

    Self-sufficient cities consider environmental impact analysis and plan resilient constructions with renewable energy sources, reduction of polluting gases, and waste treatment. In addition to the use of materials during construction that is more efficient in the management of natural resources.

    It would take up to 1,000 years for one centimeter of soil to form

    Agriculture, deforestation, cattle raising, construction of routes, or expansion of urban areas are part of human activities, but when carried out without considering the soil resource, can cause irreparable damage, since a centimeter of soil would require up to 1,000 years according to a study presented by the FAO.

    Sustainable soil management would allow up to 58% more food to be produced, something relevant when it is projected that by 2050 agricultural production will have to increase by 60% worldwide.

    The case of Costa Rica

    Costa Rica is a country that presents conditions that are highly sensitive to the degradation of its soils due to erosion. It is estimated that 70% of the extension of the national territory is in slope condition and some cases present a very steep relief. This is why there must be actions in search of soil conservation, since soil erosion is a problem that not only affects degradation but also implies a source of non-localized contaminants that damages various systems, including the hydrographic network.

    In terms of construction, one of the ways to reduce this problem is geosynthetics, a technology that, due to its configuration and resistance, generates great benefits, since it takes care of the soil, helping the vegetation to establish itself in areas where it is not capable on its own. they protect adjacent areas preventing undermining processes, among others.

    The reconstruction of slopes, channels, and riverbanks, causes considerable investments. Geosynthetics counteract this phenomenon to revegetate and reduce the detachment, transport, and deposit of the soil.

    One of the most recent projects where geosynthetics were used in Costa Rica was the Vista Real de Santa Ana residential project. In this project, the objective was to install geosynthetics to protect the surface of the slopes against erosive agents such as temperature changes, runoff, and wind mainly, this because the project is located on a hill to the west of the city; In addition, it was valued that to achieve the best results, it was necessary to carry out the installation before the start of the rains.

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