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Soil erosion is a naturally occurring process on all types of land. The agents of soil erosion are water and wind, each contributing to a significant amount of soil loss each year worldwide (Garg and Harrison, 1992). Erosion is the movement of soil particles by the action of water, wind, and gravity. It is a process that is always occurring but it can happen faster if the land is misused. Erosion is a serious problem in many parts of the world as well as in Turkey (Yüksel et al., 2007). On the whole, soil erosion is a very serious problem in arid and semiarid regions and the process is greatly accelerated by human activity, specifically when vegetation is destroyed or plant residues are buried through tillage. Farming, deforestation and grazing livestock are all examples of human activity that degrade the natural balance and accelerate the rate of soil loss. Considering the slow formation of soil and the importance of agricultural production to human survival, the severity of this problem can not be ignored. When natural vegetation is removed from land and soil is disturbed, soil erosion can accelerate and lead to environmental problems such as stream degradation, wetlands damage, lost reservoir capacity, sediment deposition on private and public property, and increased flooding and water pollution. These effects adversely impact both aquatic life and the quality of life. Soil erosion related suspended sediment concentrations in surface water can shorten the useful life of many reservoirs and dams. Suspended sediment concentration also has an effect on the biologic life in those valuable areas. Sediments also have a significant impact on the quality of drinking, recreational and industrial water, because it can serve as a carrier and storage agent of many kinds of pollutants such as phosphorus, nitrogen and other kinds of agricultural chemicals (Brown, 1984; Bhargava and Mariam, 1990; Han et al., 1994, Karabulut, 2004).
Natural Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region The Mediterranean Basin is located at the intersection of two major landmasses, Eurasia and Africa, which contributes to its cultural and high biodiversity. The greatest impacts have been deforestation, habitat fragmentation, intensive grazing and fires, and infrastructure development, especially on the coast, which have distinctly altered the landscape. In view of the valuable natural heritage there is a great need for weighing our ecological impact in order to achieve a balance between biodiversity conservation and human development and above all, how to maintain traditional rural livelihoods in a way that benefits biodiversity. This book synthesizes knowledge from many disciplines to throw some light on the unpredictability of forthcoming changes.