How soil compaction causes soil erosion

Bavarian State Office for

Soils are subject to increased usage pressure. On the one hand people need food and various raw materials, on the other hand they need space for living space, leisure areas, traffic and industry. This increases the quality of life.
However, there are many dangers for the soil and ultimately also for the environment and people.

Soil erosion and soil compaction

Nowadays, instead of intensive agriculture, there is an increasing trend towards sustainable agriculture. Nevertheless, attempts are still being made to get everything out of the ground. There is a risk of soil erosion and soil compaction due to incorrect cultivation methods, for example monoculture. Here the farmer is asked to find suitable cultivation methods and thus to increase the quality of the soil, humus and soil life.

Eroded meadow
Eroded field
Tractor tracks compact the soil
Tractor tracks

Soil acidification

In the past, forestry relied on fast-growing tree species (conifers), as the demand for wood was great. Many a fertile soil has been transformed into acidic, nutrient-poor soil where only a few adapted plant species can grow. In the meantime, the coniferous forests are gradually being converted into sustainable, species-rich mixed forests.

The top soil layer of Podzol
Coniferous forest

Floor sealing

The construction of traffic routes, houses and industrial sites irretrievably destroys soil. There used to be little thought about this. Meanwhile, there is also a rethinking.
In Bavaria, for example, there has been an alliance for space saving since 2003. Nevertheless, 16.4 hectares of soil are currently being built in Bavaria every day: In view of this rate of surface sealing, each individual is asked to plan and manage as space-saving as possible.

Multi-lane highway


Spread of air pollutants

The emission of pollutants from traffic, industry and households can also have a negative impact on the soil. Pollutants from the air can reach the ground through rain.

This not only has an impact on our food or groundwater, but also on the flora and fauna in and on the ground.

Smoking chimney
Exhaust fumes from a car

Climate change

Parched soil

Furthermore, there are also threats to the soil from climate change. For example, a soil can dry out due to the lack of regular rainfall.

Did you know?

  • 71% of the earth's surface is covered with water and only 29% is land
  • that already 25% of the mainland consists of desert
  • 80 hectares of new space are built in Germany every day

Additional information