The natural process by which wind and water gradually carve the surface of the land into hills and valleys, with rocky mountains here and there is “geological erosion” and has been going on throughout the ages. The products of geological erosion have formed our soils. Vegetation forms a protective layer to hold the soil in place and protects it against the erosive onslaught of water and wind. If this protective cover becomes damaged, the erosion process accelerates and causes the loss of top soil. “Soil is the heritage of the human race and the most precious asset that a nation possesses. It is the source of all food and the basis of all civilization.
Formed with infinite slowness over the ages, it is quick to waste and once wasted, it can for all practical purposes never be replaced. It behoves us then to guard our soil resources with the utmost care and to use them wisely, for a healthy nation can be built up only on the products of a healthy soil” JC Ross
Aerial census - 2004
There was an aerial census done in 2004 where all erosion or bare soil was photographed from the air. This pointed out 800 or more erosion sites in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve which were most likely caused due to the following main factors:
- Historical overgrazing of the area by cattle and game which occurred anywhere between 15 and 50 years ago.
- Due to roads, dams, road drainage placed incorrectly or lack of drainage on roads.
The majority of these factors have been removed and the chance of overgrazing occurring is now limited to specific areas with impala concentrations.
Roads and other man-made structures (such as dams that are still within the wrong soil types) are essentially the only factors still present. The erosion of roads is being addressed by humping and draining while other roads are moved to less sensitive areas or closed. Man-made dams, which disrupt the natural flow of water, are also being addressed to alleviate erosion problems.
The Timbavati currently engages with a soil specialist to ensure future soil erosion prevention and to protect already affected areas.