GRT are erosion control specialists with a marketplace full of different innovative spray on erosion control products that can be utilized to effectively achieve erosion control in different scenarios and settings. Soil erosion and the subsequent transport of sediment by rivers represent a key pathway for soil carbon lateral transfer at the land surface, which has a profound effect on the carbon budget of terrestrial ecosystems. The importance of erosion control in the carbon cycle is as follows:

  • limits soil redistribution.
  • reduces excessive soil water
  • promotes soil micro-aggregation 
  • maintains active sinks for carbon sequestration 
  • prevents leaching of nutrients down the soil profile 
  • enables soil organic carbon accumulation at deposition sites 
  • minimizes loss of organic soil carbon through surface runoff
  • reduces susceptibility of carbon being prone to mineralization
  • enables corrective nutrient enrichment in the depositional profiles
  • promotes inaccessibility of soil carbon via encapsulation of soil aggregates

This article highlights the impact of soil erosion on the carbon cycle, importance of soil respiration in the carbon cycle, evaluating whether soil erosion is a carbon sink or source, GRT’s key erosion control products case studies. 

What is the impact of soil erosion on the carbon cycle?

Soil erosion plays a key role in the carbon cycle and its processes within the cycle have been studied highlighting its effects on soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil respiration. Research has shown that:

  • Depositional soil profiles store 5.9 times more SOC than eroding profiles and 3.3 times more SOC than the non-eroding profiles. 
  • SOC decreases with increased soil erosion.
  • Fractions of intermediate C and the microaggregate C was lowest at the eroding position and highest at the depositional position. 
  • Input of labile materials plays a promotional role in soil respiration in the depositional topsoil.
  • In the subsoil the potential mineralization rates were lowest at the depositional position due to effective stabilization by physical protection within soil microaggregates. 
  • Soil surface respiration field results suggest that depositional topsoil SOC is prone to be mineralized and SOC is stabilized at subsoil depth.
  • High water contents at the depositional position can limit the decomposition rates and stabilize the SOC at the same time. 
  • Majority of the SOC at footslope is stored within most of the soil profile and submitted to long term stabilization.
  • Depositional profile emits more CO2 than the summit due to its high amount and quality of SOC. 

How important is soil respiration in the carbon cycle? 

It is the largest vertical carbon efflux from soil to the atmosphere and has the considerable potential to induce atmospheric CO2 concentration variation, which has raised a lot of discussion in the context of global climate change. Understanding mechanisms involved in soil respiration efflux is essential and has great research value for quantifying an erosion-induced vertical carbon flux. Soil respiration can indicate soil mineralization through SOC decomposition via microbes and can be affected by numerous factors such as:

  • soil temperature 
  • soil moisture 
  • physical protection within soil aggregates 

Is soil erosion a terrestrial carbon sink or source? 

In the past decade, there have been constant debates on whether soil erosion induces a carbon source or sink. The erosion processes by wind and water change land unit SOC stock by transporting SOC-rich sediment, oxidizing SOC stocks, and releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. Erosion, transport and depositional processes redistribute landscape SOC, enhance oxidation and create a SOC source and a sink. Research has generally concluded that soil erosion leads to a terrestrial carbon loss due to the breakdown of structural aggregates and lower productivity in the eroding areas resulting from decreased soil nutrients. Over the past two decades a contrary school of thought has advocated for soil erosion inducing a terrestrial carbon sink, due to the transfer and burial of high soil organic carbon from eroded soil surface areas to depositional landform positions. Redistributed SOC along the soil profile is not sequestered SOC if it originates outside the borders of the measured land unit. To establish an active sink for soil carbon sequestration, plants on a land unit must take CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in the humus or SOC fraction within the land unit. The contrast in understanding of the role soil erosion in the carbon cycle led GRT to dive deeper into understanding the importance of erosion control in the carbon cycle. 

GRT’s erosion control key products benefits

ProductGRT: Enviro Binder 

Key product benefits:

  • Non-toxic and environmentally friendly product.
  • Immediately effective once applied.
  • Binds soil preventing erosion on any exposed soil area.
  • Support seed and vegetation growth.
  • Minimal soil preparation for application of product.
  • Cost effective results. 
  • Safe installation. 
  • Waterproof product.

ProductGRT: Soil-Loc

Key product benefits:

  • prevents wind erosion soil loss.
  • immediately effective upon application by binding directly to the soil.
  • accelerate germination.
  • reduces impact erosion, sheet erosion, topsoil loss and sediment.
  • cost-effective when to hydro-mulching and hydro-seeding revegetation.
  • minimizes wash away of seed.
  • aids fertiliser retention around the root zone.
  • more available fertiliser for plant uptake.
  • environmentally friendly. 

GRT erosion control case studies

GRT erosion control products have been used in and around Australia and these are some of the case studies where our erosion control spray products have been used with great success:

In conclusion 

Implementing soil erosion control is preferred to catching sediment, and GRT can champion your soil erosion control project from start to finish and in the process enhance your contributions to SOC. Soil plays a pivotal environmental role in balancing the climate as it currently acts as a carbon sink, sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere into SOC. Deal with displacement of soil and the organic carbon within it by reaching out to GRT General Manager, Daniel Grundy and let him work out the best solution for you to prevent soil erosion and deal with it at its source. 

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