A natural phenomenon is any non-artificial event not produced by human activity but may affect humans. Natural phenomenon includes weather, decay, erosion and volcanic eruptions. Most natural phenomena are termed harmless.
Erosion is the process which leads to the removal of material from a section of the earth. Erosion may occur when solids such as rocks are weathered and transported to another place by wind, water, and ice (Toy, Foster, & Renard, 2002). Although soil erosion is a natural process human land use such as deforestation, industrial agriculture and urban sprawl have profound effect on erosion. A certain amount of erosion is healthy however; excessive erosion causes detrimental effects on the environment.
The major aim of this paper is to establish the role of human activity such as forest logging on excessive soil erosion. The paper will examine how this human activity contribute soil erosion and measures which can be taken to reduce negative effects on the environment due to human activity.
Relevance of Testable question
In the advent of technology, most people are moving from rural to urban centers in order to acquire white collar employment and education. Developments in major cities are drastic as investors in real estate move towards clearing rural settings and natural resources such as forests to create room for new buildings. This has resulted in deforestation and encroachment of land near natural resources which causes degradation of the environment, consequently serving to increase rate of soil erosion (Toy, Foster, & Renard, 2002).
In an undisturbed environment, a layer of litter and organic layer cover mineral soil. The two layers protect the soil from agents of erosion such as raindrops which cause compaction of soil, reduced organic matter, deprived drainage and problems in the acidity of the soil. In most instances, only very heavy rainfall and floods will cause erosion of mineral soil (Ekhtesasi & Sepehr, 2009). This is because it removes the top layers which protect mineral soil thus exposing the soil to agents of erosion.
In addition, the human activity such as logging contributes profoundly to the detriment of the environment because of exposing mineral soil to agents of erosion. Trees form a canopy, which reduce the effect of raindrops on the mineral soil because the leaves of the tree break the impact before getting to the ground. In addition, logging disturbs the floor of the forest, which plays a fundamental role in reducing effect of agents of erosion on the mineral soil (Meng, Fu, Tang, & Ren, 2008). Disturbance of the top layer of the ground increases rate of infiltration of water into the ground thereby increasing the rate of soil erosion.
Steps in experimentation
1. Identifying and citing the activity such as logging that contributes largely to damage of the environment by exposing the mineral soil to agents of erosion. This is usually due to the disturbance and removal of the earth’s top layer increasing the rate of penetration of water into the ground thereby causing erosion.
2. Defining objectives. The objective of this experiment is to determine the effects of human activities such as excessive logging on the soil surface and later come up with measures to reduce the negative effects caused by logging on the environment.
3. Developing a hypothesis. This refers to an experiment that determines the cause of erosion. Develop a hypothesis on the account that due to logging for example, natural resources are destroyed such as forests to create room for structures and this leads to land degradation thus increasing the rate of soil erosion.
4. Plan and carry out experiments in order to analysis the hypothesis. Proper planning is done where several concerns are emphasized. These concerns include availability of resources and tools to be used in collecting the soil samples from identified logged forests. These are secured in to ensure that the experiment runs smoothly.
5. Data collection. After planning, the researchers determine the appropriate methods for collecting the data from logged forests. Samples of loam soil are collected and put in holding containers. Later, the soil samples are transferred to airtight containers to enable holding of moisture in the soil.
6. Data analysis. The loam soil samples collected are later taken to the scientific laboratory and experiments are conducted to determine the outcome after exposure to different conditions to enable making informed conclusions in each of the conditions. The loam soil samples are measured using the electronic beam balance. The measurement units used are grams and all values are rounded off to the nearest integer in grams.
7. Data interpretation. After the data is analyzed, interpretation is done to ensure clear understanding of the outcome of the experiment. In this case, loam soil samples from the different logged locations are interpreted and the subsequent explanation and causes of the erosion are identified.
8. Conclusions on the hypothesis. The result of the experiment show that logging contribute significantly to the soil erosion.
Tools and technologies used in the experiment
The method used in this experiment to determine the moisture content is oven-drying method. Several tools and technologies used include; Thermostatically controlled drying oven used for drying the soil, colorimetric testing kits such test tubes, portable laboratories, clear sheet, airtight container to help in maintaining the moisture in the soil, holding containers for holding the soil samples and an electronic beam balance used in measurements. The measurement units used are grams and all values are rounded off to the nearest integer in grams.
Experiments attempts to look at the results of various inputs on the topic. These inputs vary due to the different conditions that are identified. The experiment determines the units to be received bearing in mind the procedure used. Basic design is mainly determined by procedural choice. Several concerns such as availability of time, availability of resources and objectives to be emphasized determines the preference of design. To determine the effect of logging on soil erosion we first establish the objective of the experiment. The objective in this case would be to identify the effect of logging on the soil surface. The research follows the black box model in order to maximize information obtained on soil erosion. The choice on the use of this model follows the notion that this experiment seeks to describe variables and is therefore descriptive. This supersedes all other experimental designs applicable to this experiment, among them the traverse and zigzag models and research designs (Almazroa, 1998).
Identify source of the soil sample. In this case the logged forests are where the soil samples are to be collected.
Identify soil type. The soil type collected from the above site for this experiment is identified to be loam and a sample of the soil realized is measured using an electronic beam balance.
Expose the sample to either of the agents of erosion aforementioned. The loam soil samples collected are exposed to different agents of erosion to determine the rate of erosion under the various conditions. These helps in determination of the conditions under which higher rates of erosion are experienced.
Carrying out of laboratory tests on the samples. The laboratory tests are carried out in a scientific laboratory. The loam soil samples in the airtight container are measured using a electronic beam balance and put in clear sheet.
Observing the results. After the loam soil samples has undergone a series of tests which include determination of its moisture content an observation is made as to its vulnerability to agents of soil erosion.
Record inferences. The deductions made from the experiment confirm that logging is a main cause of excessive soil erosion.
Provide recommendations. The main aim of carrying out experiments is to provide answers to the challenges of erosion and to recommend the possible ways of averting those challenges. These recommendations look at ways in which we can avoid logging as a human activity that cause increase in rate of erosion and how such problems can be countered.
The loam soil samples collected from the different logged areas are labeled. The experiment will help to determine the effect of logging as a human activity on samples of loam soil. Water is the independent variable in this experiment. The dependent variable will be the moisture content to be determined from logging activities. Controlled variables include temperature, climate and relief. With regard to temperature, it is differs with altitude and latitude. The altitude and latitude does not change in our case. Consequently, climate will remain unchanged and so will be the relief which basically is the typographical features from the logging sites (Almazroa, 1998).
The research on the effect of human activity on erosion aims at identifying the causes and measures of logging on soil erosion. Soil erosion is a natural process, which takes place over time. However, some human activities such as logging accelerate the rate of soil erosion which culminates in negative effect on the environment.
Other factors, which are not as a result of human activities, also contribute to excessive soil erosion. However, in this situation loam soil samples are collected from logged forests. These will help in accurately determining the effect of this human activity on soil erosion.
Human activities on the soil are directly related to erosion. This is best determined by collection of soil samples, in this case loam soil collected from logged forest. Conducting an experiment on this soil will reveal that, human activities at the logging sites would cause increased rate of erosion. This is because the soil sample will have less moisture content and therefore its particles are loosely held thus is effortlessly carried by water. We will seek to address the certainty of this assumption by looking at the above samples and producing results to this effect.
The loam samples will be collected and placed in airtight container to help maintain the moisture of the soil before it gets to the scientific laboratory. Each loam sample is measured with the electronic beam balance will be collected from each of different logged location. A beam balance will be used for the measurements. The unit of measurement will in grams for ease in measurement and all values are rounded off to the nearest integer in grams. Measuring the loam soil by mass accommodates other important aspects of soil which includes moisture, air content, mineral content and the availability of living organisms in the soil. Other laboratory tools and equipments will be used for example the holding containers for storing the loam soil samples during and after the experiment. The methodology applicable to the above context is appropriate since it combines all the variables treated by this experiment. This combination further makes it easier to evaluate and analyze the results for valid results as provided by the hypothesis.
The method used above for the purposes of getting the experiment done is fundamental as it cuts across the subject matter of the experiment, thereby addressing all the needs of the research. The methods are easy to apply and cost effective. These are preferable since the outcome is accurate thus making the method most suitable for soil analysis.
Data to be used for the research for determining the relationship between different logged forests will be collected to determine the causes of excessive soil erosion.
The locations will be from logged forests where two samples will be collected and stored in airtight containers to help in maintaining the moisture in the loam soil before going back to the scientific laboratories where various test such as determination of the level of moisture is done.
The research will cover loam soil samples as it plays a fundamental role in determining extent of soil erosion in an area. The use of one type of soil increases credibility of the research. The loam soil samples collected will be taken to the laboratory and experiments conducted to determine the outcome after exposure to water as the agents of erosion.
Both primary and secondary data will be utilized. Primary data will be obtained through the above procedure while secondary data will be obtained from previously done researches, environmental reports among other credible sources that the researcher will deem important to the subject matter (Almazroa, 1998).
Procedure to be followed
1. Determine and record the weight of an empty air-tight container – B1.
2. Take the sample of loam soil and put it in the container.
3. Determine and record the weight of the container plus the soil – B2.
4. Place it in the oven for the soil to dry so that we can ascertain the weight of dry loam soil. This is usually done over 24 hour duration.
5. Determine the weight of the dry loam soil samples and record the outcome – B3.
Effects of logging on loam soil
The graph above shows the extent of soil erosion depending on the logging activities carried out in two different locations. The experiment reveals moisture content percentages of 16.77% and 31.04% in B and C respectively. The percentages show the rate of exposure of the soil to factors such as water. The more the soil is exposed the higher the rate of moisture loss and consequently, the more it is exposed to agents of erosion. When the loam soil samples are exposed to water as an agent of erosion the eroded soil is collected and weighed and this reveals that the exposure of soil leads to disturbance of the top layer thus increasing soil permeability of the soil and subsequently increasing the rate of erosion. The percentages therefore compare the moisture contents from the two fields.
After carrying out moisture experiments, the rate of erosion is determined by exposing the soil samples to similar intensities of water pressure for a period of 2 hours. This is done by placing each of the soil samples in on a slightly sloppy plane and running the same amount of water at each sample. The water which passes through the samples is then collected and the soil content in this water is weighed. The soil content which was collected in water run through sample B was little as compared to that collected from sample C. The rate of erosion in B was therefore lower than in sample C. Sample C shows that logging was higher resulting in higher rate of erosion. In this regard, the hypothesis is actually confirmed as the results support the assumption that the hypothesis states (that natural phenomenon cannot be avoided) as summarized in graph 1. Where logging is extensive it’s prevalent that soil erosion is high, for instance in graph 1 it’s evident that the more the logged forest the higher the erosion hence the extensive graph behavior.
The result of the experiment shows that logging activities contribute significantly to the soil erosion as shown by the experiment. The experiment confirms effects of erosion through observation, findings and inferences drawn from such findings as expressed by this research. The experimental design plays a significant role in the success or failure of a research. The experimental design determines appropriate method for collecting data, which is established, from the objective of the experiment. The experiment design helps to guide the research and thus the researcher does not deviate from research topic.
The research on effect of human activity on soil erosion can be replicated by finding out the relationship between soil erosion and other causes of soil erosion such as acts of nature for example hurricanes. As earlier depicted, the hypothesis is true to type in the regions for which the experiment was considered. However, in the broader spectrum, this notion may not hold true to type. Other external factors may act on the humans forcing further activities on the environment components among them soil, thus the consideration of the soil erosion under the human activity context. The experiment is therefore a success in addressing the concerns of the subject matter through the hypothesis.
Although the findings of the experiment hold the hypothesis true in all the regions considered, natural phenomenon cannot be ignored. Since the hypothesis is a guiding statement to the results of the experiment, this therefore validates the scope and the context under which the experiment was conducted, consequently validating such findings as those of the experiment.
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