Soil erosion is a natural process but can be greatly affected and enhanced by the way in which we use our land. Increased erosion can cause increased runoff to the ocean and dust particles in the air. Here’s how you can reduce the amount of erosion you may be causing:

Shoreline erosion is a significant issue on Hawaiian islands and sandy coastal areas are vulnerable to erosion. The natural pattern of erosion by waves and currents make the coastal zone an active environment of sand-moving which should not be disturbed. Sea level is rising almost 1 inch per 10 years in Hawaii, pushing the shoreline inwards through erosion. Humans have severely interfered with sand movement in areas of Hawaii by building seawalls, groins, dredging canals and sand mining. This movement of sand often has negative consequences for the natural system, often accelerating beach loss.

Beaches, dunes and grasses help prevent erosion by absorbing wave impacts and dunes supply sand that nourishes the beaches. Shoreline vegetation stabilizes dunes and absorbs nutrients from fertilizers in runoff. Here are some ways you can help these natural processes and reduce shoreline erosion:

Photographs: Robert Shallenberger, Doug Sell and Andrew Walsh.