Soil science blog

Raindrops “like tiny bombs” threaten soil stability

Effects of raindrops on soil

The effects of the recent heavy rains have been felt across Australia’s East Coast, creating significant challenges for local residents, businesses and ecosystems.

Soil scientists are exploring methods of quantifying the short and long-term erosive impact of raindrops on soil, a potential cause of ongoing economic and environmental concern.

In a new study from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, researchers have used a new technique known as high-speed stress microscopy to quantify the hidden strength of raindrops based on the force, stress and pressure created on impact.

The study found that tiny droplets of water are amongst the most destructive agents on earth, behaving like tiny bombs and wreaking havoc on degraded, low-carbon soils.

This erosion and depletion of soil has a knock-on effect for multiple ecosystems, interrupting natural ecological processes and inhibiting moisture penetration and plant growth.

The natural remedy for raindrop erosion

Soil scientists have found that the principles of regenerative agriculture offer the best insights into the ongoing prevention and management of raindrop erosion.

Essentially, regenerative agriculture is about caring for soil crops and animals using self-sustaining methods, and similar principles can be applied to revegetation projects to rejuvenate depleted soils.

Just as carbon is the lifeblood of our planet, increasing and maintaining soil carbon is the key to maintaining overall soil health. Without a sufficient carbon concentration, soil loses its structure, making it difficult to work with and prone to erosion.

Sure enough, as more farmers embrace a natural approach to building up carbon levels in soil, they are seeing less erosion and more healthy, robust, low-maintenance pastures and crops establishing on site.

Using a purpose-designed Biotic Growth Amendment can restore carbon levels in a more natural way while also enhancing water-holding capacity and providing long-term, slow-release insoluble plant nutrition.

How does EnviroStraw achieve this?

EnviroStraw’s Australian-made BioGrowth™ program supports naturally occurring biological activity to prevent erosion, increase soil fertility and enhance soil health. Incorporating beneficial microbes, insoluble mineral nutrients, and biocompatible inputs, the program is primed to increase the concentration of organic carbon in soil, reduce erosion and encourage native plant growth in a cost-effective, sustainable way.

Canungra fire trail case study is a perfect example of a rain-affected site making a full recovery.

As the fire trail traverses extreme slopes, the project required a no-watering solution comprising high-quality soil erosion control products to be applied by a 4WD machine.

After a full assessment of the project, EnviroStraw recommended the use of EnviroMatrix® ECM, with EnviroBond – our long-term storm-guard soil mulch stabilising polymer – to protect against raindrop erosion and minimise the risk of failure.

EnviroMatrix® was applied directly to the subsoil at a rate of five tons to the hectare, followed by 400 litres of EnviroBond with native seeds.

The site was also treated with BFM Complete – a hydraulic growth media, bonded fibre matrix and biotic growth amendment in one bag.

Has heavy rainfall had a detrimental effect on your site? To find out more about our award-winning revegetation and erosion control solutions, fill out our contact form or call 1300 868 669.

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