Farmers earn their living from the crops they grow on their land, such as fruits and vegetables. You eat fruits and vegetables to help you grow big and strong and to keep you healthy. Strong winds that blow very hard damage the soil and the crops. When the top layer of the soil becomes too dry because it did not get enough water, wind blows it away. When this happens, it is called wind erosion.
What Does Wind Erosion Do?
When there is not enough rain or the weather becomes too hot and dry, wind lifts up the tiny particles of dry soil and blows them into the air as clouds of dust. The top layer of soil removed by wind is called topsoil. Topsoil is important to farmers and crops because it contains plant food called organic matter, and it holds more water than the soil underneath it. When wind erosion removes topsoil, it blows away the food that plants need to grow and be healthy. Subsoil, which is underneath topsoil, does not have the water and nutrients that plants need to survive.
Signs of Wind Erosion
You see signs of wind erosion wherever you find dry soil where nothing grows, or if you see the roots of plants showing. Some plants grow in places where wind erosion has blown away the top layer of the soil, but they are very small because they do not get enough food. When you see clouds of dust, you know wind erosion has blown away some topsoil from the land.
How Wind Erosion Affects You
When you eat fruits and vegetables, you are eating plants. You get important vitamins and minerals from the plants you eat. Many plants all around the world cannot grow because of wind erosion.
Wind erosion blows enough dust into the air to bury plants and completely cover fences and roads. The dust blown into the air by the wind contains germs that cause diseases. When animals and humans breathe in the dust, it can make them sick.
Can Wind Erosion Be Prevented?
Building a windbreak is one way farmers protect their crops. A windbreak stops the wind from blowing away topsoil. To make a windbreak, farmers plant rows of trees or put up screens around their crops. Many of the fruits and vegetables you eat were saved because of windbreaks.