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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #245398

Title: Soil - A necessary resource for our future

item Busscher, Warren

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/2/2009
Publication Date: 7/10/2009
Citation: Busscher, W.J. 2009. Soil - A necessary resource for our future. pp. 79-80. In: Proceedings of the 64th Annual National Conference of the Soil and Water Conservation Society Meeting, July 11-15, 2009, Dearborn, Michigan.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Fertile or degraded soils have been the basis of the rise or fall of civilizations throughout history. They have been the engine that powered the rise of many countries including our own and the fall of those who were not good stewards of their environment or suffered insurmountable setbacks, such as the Mayans, Anasazi, and Easter Islanders. Soil degradation comes in many forms, such as erosion, nutrient mining, and loss of organic matter. According to the FAO, 755 M acres of arable soil have become irreversibly destroyed by degradation and 4.84 B acres have some degree of degradation. So what can we do about it? Fortunately, we have a good start. We know how to prevent or reduce erosion, how to manage soils/crops, and how to improve fertility and yields. Another improvement can come by way of education. Education of producers is necessary to be sure; but also education of the public who are going to be eventually affected by the loss of productivity. Another improvement would be to use the tried and true methods, including the use of incentives, grants, and credit for producers who cannot now afford the practices. Finally, research is needed to find techniques for remediation of degraded soils. The research and remediation are needed to improve all those soils that have lost the ability to be productive or become less productive than they once were.