Your gateway to a wide range of natural resources information and associated maps

Victorian Resources Online

Sheet and rill erosion

What is it?

Sheet erosion is the planar removal of surface soil by the action of either raindrop splash, shallow flows of surface of water, or even by wind.

Rill erosion is usually linked with sheet (water driven) erosion as the shallow flows of water driving sheet erosion tend to coalesce and thus increase both in velocity and scouring capacity.

Additional information on the mechanisms of water erosion is given on the soil health site

Land degradation - An example of sheet and rill erosion
Sheet erosion and rill erosion of a cropped paddock following an intense thunderstorm


Sheet and rill erosion by definition removes the topsoil, the most productive asset of farms and the land. As a consequence plant growth is reduced and sustainability compromised.

Transported materials are often high in nutrients and fine particles. They damage down-slope sites through turbidity, sedimentation and eutrophication.


The primary requirement to avoid sheet erosion is to build and maintain vegetative cover of the soil and ensure the maintenance of high infiltration rates into the soil profile.
Page top