Soil erosion is one of the eight soil degradation processes identified by the European Commission in the “Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection”. Although this process occurs naturally, agriculture has increased soil erosion around the world with greater extent until today, with conventional and mechanized agricultural practices that have gradually compromised the soil quality and fertility. Soil erosion directly causes fertility decrease, producing nutrient losses and reducing organic carbon stock. It is frequently related to other degradation processes like soil compaction and low soil water storage capacity. Furthermore the off-site impacts of soil erosion are relevant: water-courses pollution from fertilizers and pesticides, supply of sediments into rivers and reservoirs, and muddy floods represent the undesirable consequences of the soil erosion process, which role is underestimate among natural hazards.
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