Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Soil Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: July 23, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Erosion, either by wind or water, moves large amounts of soil each year. It has been estimated that over 70% of the world's agricultural lands are affected in some degree by erosion. Continued loss of topsoil removes the most productive portion of the soil profile and although nutrients and water can be re-supplied to the soil, the productivity levels remain affected. The major onsite impact of erosion is the loss of crop productivity and this is mirrored in reductions in crop yield and water and nutrient use efficiency. In regions of the world with variable rainfall the loss of topsoil increases the vulnerability of human food supplies. Offsite impacts of erosion relate to the economic and ecological costs of sediment, nutrient, or agricultural chemical being deposited in streams, rivers, and lakes. Adoption of soil management practices to reduce erosion can have profound affects on future world food supplies.