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As a slope , the inclination angle between an inclined face and is geoid designated. The slope is usually given in degrees (°), while in agriculture, road construction (civil engineering) and construction (building construction) it is given in percent (45 ° corresponds to 100%)


The slope is the most important parameter:

Just as important - especially for geomorphology , botany and cultivation  - is the so-called exposure , which means the direction of the slope. A southerly exposure of a steep slope means long, intensive solar radiation in the upper part of the slope, combined with a high snow line , but often also with changing soil moisture.

The two variables of slope and exposure can be recorded in the terrain without using fine measuring devices. Together with other parameters such as vegetation , type and depth of the soil , rock types , porosity or water balance, they form the working basis for orographic analyzes and for work on hydrology and geology , soil science and nature conservation . In building law, you need the elevation of a piece of land to determine the mean height of a building over the course of the terrain. According to the building template ordinance, the lines must be entered in building application drawings that show the course of the terrain before the start of the construction work and after completion. From a gradient of 2%, one speaks of slopes. This corresponds to a height difference of 20 cm on a 10 m horizontal route. As a rule, this difference in height is generally not perceptible on a property. In fact, after 100 m there is already a 2 m difference in altitude. Accordingly, an elevation after 1 km already consists of a 20 m difference in altitude. Therefore, for example, a slope of more than 6% should be classified as a problem, because there are significant differences in height even on a small building plot. After 100 m there is already a 6 m difference in altitude.

Erosion vs. Slope

The "strength of the erosion or soil erosion" depends primarily on the slope; as the gradient increases, the tendency to erosion increases almost quadratically. It also depends on vegetation and soil type as well as the amount and temporal distribution of precipitation .

In agricultural soils, the type of use and the direction is plowing crucial because horizontally extending arable let furrow the rainwater run off more slowly than those in the fall line , which is however often preferred for practical reasons.

Therefore, steep slopes are particularly threatened by soil leaching, which can also result in harmful eutrophication of deeper landscapes and bodies of water. After heavy rainfall, the risk of mudslides or avalanches increases, which emphasizes the importance of suitable vegetation, management or protective forest . Endangered zones and slippery areas are also recognizable by floor tiles and sickle growth of trees, and sometimes by plaques .

Other soil parameters

At the other end of the scale - flat pieces of land - there is usually greater fertility, but there is also a greater need for building land and traffic areas. The hydrogeological soil conditions are important in cultivation, fertilization and construction . In the past, water-retaining soils were mostly drained - see keyword “acidic meadows ”! - and straighten waters, which is judged more skeptically today.

For the allocation of the status of mountain farmers and based on funding available is not only the height location of the farms and estates matters, but also the slope. The new perspective of the farmer (also) as a landscape manager is closely linked to this and to the tourism sector .

See also


  • Hans-Peter Blume, Karl Stahr, Peter Leinweber: Soil science internship. 3rd, revised edition. Spectrum academic publishing house, Heidelberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8274-1553-0 .
  • Wolf-Dieter Rase: Cartographic Surfaces. Books on Demand, Norderstedt approx. 2016, ISBN 978-3-7392-0922-7 .

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