TOPSOIL  LOSS  AND  DEGRADATION - CAUSES, EFFECTS, AND IMPLICATIONS: A  GLOBAL  PERSPECTIVE

- Soil Erosion Basics -
- Causes and Dynamics -
- Global Topsoil Loss -
- Erosion Data by Countries -
- Urbanization-Caused Topsoil Loss -
- Green Revolution, Fertilizers, Pesticides -
- Food Supply From Soils -
- Soil Conservation Laws and Politics -
- Soil Loss History and Economics -

Edition 7, July 2007

Bruce Sundquist
bsundquist1@alltel.net

Key Words:
Arable land, carrying capacity, civilization lifetimes, Conservation Reserve Program, cropland, cropland area, cropland inventory, crop yields, desertification, deserts, erosion costs, fallowed cropland, fertilizer, fertilizer consumption, food prices, grain production, grazing land erosion, green revolution, gully erosion, hunger statistics, land degradation, land-use, minimum tillage, pesticides, positive feedbacks, potential cropland, rangeland erosion, reduced tillage, rill erosion, reservoir siltation, rivers, salinization, sediment chemistry, sediment delivery, sheet erosion, shifting agriculture, soil conservation, soil creation, soil erosion, soil formation, soil loss, soil productivity, topsoil loss, urbanization, wind erosion.

Previous Editions: Ed.2 8/95 // Ed.3 9/98 // Ed.4 11/00 // Ed.5 12/03 // Ed. 6 02/05 // 

since 01/04/03

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Note 1: Throughout this document, the notation (la) means that the corresponding information has been copied to a Land/ Aquatic-Area data file.

Note 2: If the system of units used in this document (normally metric) confuses you, see Chapter (11), Section (11-A).

(1) - TOPSOIL LOSS OVERVIEW - [A] Soil Politics, [B] Soil Inventory, [C] Soil Carrying-Capacity, [D] Potential Cropland, [E]~Potential for Cropland Productivity Improvements, [F] Topsoil Loss/ Cropland Degradation, [G] Urbanization-Related Soil Loss, [H]~Erosion Costs, [I] Grazing Land Erosion, [J] Positive Feedbacks, [K] Progress in Soil Conservation, [L] Some Soil-Related Trends, [M]~Some Useful Agricultural Data,
(2) - PARAMETERS USEFUL FOR PERSPECTIVE AND CALCULATION -
(2-A) -
Sizes of Small Things -
(2-B) -
Areas and Volumes of Large Things -
(2-B-a)
Partitioning The Planet's Surface Area -
(2-B-b)
Water Impoundments -
(2-B-c)
Areas and Volumes of Fresh Water Bodies -
(2-C) -
Precipitation and Runoff -
(2-D) -
Land-Use Data and Estimates of Potential Cropland -
(2-D-a)
Original Vegetation Distribution (Global and Continents) -
(2-D-b)
Forested Land -
(2-D-c)
Crop Lands (active and fallowed) - [Dc1] Inventory, [Dc2] Growth Rate, [Dc3] Grain-land, [Dc4] Fallowed Cropland,
(2-D-d) Grazing Lands -
(2-D-e)
Biologically Unproductive Lands (Global) -
(2-D-f)
Land-Use Distribution (Global) -
(2-D-g)
Definition of Cropland, Grassland, Forest -
(2-D-h)
Land-Use Data (Tables) (by nation and Region) -
(2-D-i)
Potential Croplands - [Di1] Global, [Di2] Regional Data,
(2-E) -
National Land-Use Information -
(2-E-a)
Asia - [Ea1] General, [Ea2] Central Asia, [Ea3] Asian Sub-Continent, [Ea4] Far East, [Ea5] Southeast Asia, [Ea6] Middle East,
(2-E-b) Africa - [Eb1] General, [Eb2] North Africa, [Eb3] Eastern Africa, [Eb4] Central Africa, [Eb5] West Africa, [Eb6] Southern Africa,
(2-E-c) North America - [Ec1] Canada, [Ec2] US Land Basics, [Ec3] US Fallow Land, [Ec4] US Floodplains, [Ec5] US Cropland Inventory, [Ec6]~US Land-Use Inventory, [Ec7] Changes in US Cropland Area, [Ec8] Potential for Conversion to Cropland, [Ec9]~Conversion of US grasslands to cropland, [Ec10] US Croplands Maps, Tables and Charts, [Ec11] Removals from the US Cropland Inventory, [Ec12] US Forest Land Inventory Changes
(2-E-d) South America and Central America - [Ed1] Amazon Basin, [Ed2] Brazil, [Ed3] Andean Mountain Region, [Ed4] Central America, [Ed5]~Southeast South America,
(2-E-e)
Europe and Australia - [Ee1] Australia, [Ee2] Europe,
(2-F) -Climatic Data -

(3) -
SOIL EROSION BASICS -
(3-A) -
Soil Formation -
(3-B) -
Soil Conservation Technologies -
(3-C) -
Land Classifications - [C1] Net Primary Production (NPP), [C2] Soil Carbon Pool, [C3] Croplands by Erosion Potential, Class
(3-D) - Soil Data -
(3-D-a)
Soil Basics - [Da1] Soil Organic Matter, [Da2] Soil Compaction, [Da3] Water-Holding Capacity, [Da4] Mycorrhizae,
(3-D-b) Temperate Soils - [Db1] Australia, [Db2] North America, [Db3] China,
(3-D-c) Tropical Soils - [Dc1] General, [Dc2] Lateritic Soils, [Dc3] African Soils, [Dc4] Vertisol Soils,
(3-E) - Desertification and Land Degradation Generally -
(3-F) -
Antiquities -
(3-F-a)
Climatic Changes -
(3-F-b)
In the Beginning-
(3-F-c)
Salination as a soil destroyer -
(3-F-d)
Selected Civilizations - [Fd1] Mesopotamia (Iraq), [Fd2] Jordan, [Fd3] Israel, [Fd4] Europe, [Fd5] China, [Fd6] India, [Fd7]~Sri Lanka, [Fd8]~Greece, [Fd9] Turkey, [Fd10] North Africa, [Fd11] US, [Fd12] Mayans, [Fd13] Oceania,
(3-F-e) Some Lifetimes of Civilizations -
(3-G) -
Effects of Soil Erosion and Monoculture on Cropland Yield -
(3-G-a)
Erosion-Effects on Crop Yield - [Ga1] Validity of experimental procedures, [Ga2] Studies of Productivity Loss vs. erosion in the US, [Ga3]~Studies of Productivity Loss vs. erosion outside the US,
(3-G-b) Monoculture-Effects on Crop Yield -
(3-G-c)
Organic Matter-Effects on Crop Yield -
(3-H) -
Causes and Dynamics of Soil Erosion -
(3-H-a)
Anthropogenic Effects on Soil Erosion in General -
(3-H-b)
Soil Erosion on non-crop lands (Also see (4-H)) -
(3-H-c)
Slope Dependence of Erosion -
(3-H-d)
Crop Dependence of Erosion -
(3-H-e)
Soil-Cover Dependence of Erosion -
(3-H-f)
Positive Feedbacks (Instabilities) -
(3-H-g)
Wind Erosion (See (4-D) also) -
(3-H-h)
Gully Erosion -
(3-H-i)
Mulching- and Organic Matter Influence on Erosion -
(3-I) -
Off-Farm Impacts of Soil Erosion -
(3-J) -
Reduced Tillage Cropland Management -
(3-J-a)
Extent of Reduced Tillage -
(3-J-b)
Effects of Reduced Tillage - [Jb1] Erosion, [Jb2] Herbicides, Pesticides,
(3-J-c) Reduced Tillage Technology and Economics
-
(3-K) - Aluminum Toxicity and Other Fertility Constraints -
(3-L) - Cropping Intensity/ Multiple Cropping -

(4) -GLOBAL SOIL EROSION -
(4-A) -
Specific Cropland Soil Erosion Data - [A1] General, [A2] Table of Specific Erosion Data by Continent, [A3] Table of Specific Erosion Data for Various Land-Uses, [A4] Canada, [A5] China, [A6] US,
(4-B) - Gross Soil-Loss and Soil-Organic-Matter Loss Data - [B1] Gross Erosion Data, [B2] Africa, [B3] Anthropogenic Effects, [B4] Canada, [B5]~US,
(4-C) - Shifting Agriculture - [C1] Table of Cycle Times, [C2] Carrying Capacity under Shifting Cultivation, [C3] Tropical Cropland Lifetimes,
(4-D) - Wind Erosion Data - [D1] Africa, [D2] Oceania, [D3] Asian Sub-Continent, [D4] Central Asia, [D5] US, [D6] Far East,
[D7] Mid-East,
(4-E) - Cropland Loss to Urbanization, Chemical Contamination and Erosion -
(4-F) -
Cropland Loss to Salination and Water-Logging - [F1] Global, [F2] North America, [F3] Latin America, [F4] Middle East,
(4-G) - Sediment Delivery -
(4-G-a)
Sediment Chemistry -
(4-G-b)
The Upper End of Sediment Delivery - [Gb1] The Fraction of Total Erosion that doesn't make it into a Waterway, [Gb2] Dependence of Sediment Delivery Ratio on Sediment Load, [Gb3] Extremes in the Time-Variation of Sediment Delivery, [Gb4] Dependence of Sediment Delivery on Drainage Basin Size, [Gb5] Dependence of Sediment Load on Runoff, [Gb6] Asian Sub-Continent, [Gb7] Far East, [Gb8] US,
(4-G-c) Sediment Trapping in Reservoirs - [Gc1] General, [Gc2] Rates (%/ year) of Depletion of Reservoir Capacity due to Siltation (table), [Gc3] Capacities of Major Reservoirs (table), [Gc4] Reservoir areas of hydroelectric dams (table), [Gc5] North Africa, [Gc6]~Southeast Asia, [Gc7] Canada, [Gc8] China, [Gc9] Latin America, [Gc10] Asian Sub-Continent, [Gc11] US,
[Gc12] Sub-Saharan Africa,
(4-G-d) Bed Load Contributions to Sediment Delivery -
(4-G-e)
Sediment Transport to Oceans - [Ge1] General, [Ge2] Suspended Sediment Yields of Selected Rivers (table), [Ge3] Data for Major Rivers of the World(table), [Ge4] Major Sediment-Yielding Rivers of the World (table), [Ge5] Average Sediment Discharge to Oceans (table), [Ge6] Suspended Sediment Discharge from Continents (table), [Ge7] Sediment Yields of Rivers to Oceans (table), [Ge8] Estimates of Suspended Sediment Reaching the Oceans (table), [Ge9] Yellow River, [Ge10] Peruvian Rivers, [Ge11]~Great Lakes, [Ge12] Southeastern US, [Ge13] Sediment Deposited at River Mouths,
(4-G-f) Dissolved-Solids Transport to Oceans -
(4-H) -
Grazing Land Erosion -
(4-I) -
Deforestation-caused Erosion - [I1] General, [I2] Europe, [I3] US, [I4] Southeast Asia, [I5] Africa, [I6] Asian Sub-Continent, [I7]~USSR,

(5) - EROSION AND ORGANIC MATTER LOSS BY COUNTRY -
(5-A) -
Asia - [A1] Central Asia, [A2] Far East, [A3] Asian Sub-Continent, [A4] Southeast Asia, [A5] Middle East,
(5-B) - Africa - [B1] Africa Overall, [B2] North Africa, [B3] Eastern Africa, [B4] Western Africa, [B5] Southern Africa, [B6] Sahel
(5-C) - North America -
(5-C-a)
Gully Erosion -
(5-C-b)
Wind Erosion -
(5-C-c)
Land Removed from Agriculture -
(5-C-d)
Total Soil Erosion in the US - [Cd1] US Erosion Rates, [Cd2] Regional US Erosion Rates, [Cd3] Erosion on newer Croplands, [Cd4]~Long-term Effects, [Cd5] Sediment Delivery, [Cd6] Erosion Spectrum, 1982 NRI, [Cd7] Soil Conservation,
(5-C-e) Sheet- and Rill Erosion - US -
(5-C-f)
Data on Canada and Specific US States and Regions - [Cf1] General, [Cf2] Southeastern US, [Cf3] Far West, [Cf4]~Canada, [Cf5]~Rocky Mountains, [Cf6] Great Plains, [Cf7] Iceland, [Cf8] Midwest, [Cf9] Northeastern US,
(5-D) - South and Central America - [D1] Southeastern South America, [D2] Brazil, [D3] Northwestern South America, [D4]~Central America, [D5] Andean Mountain Region,
(5-E) - Europe and Australia - [E1] Eastern Europe, [E2] Southern Europe, [E3] Northern Europe, [E4] Europe in General, [E5]~European USSR, [E6] Australia,

(6) - URBANIZATION-CAUSED TOPSOIL (CROPLAND) LOSS -
(6-A) -
Asia, Africa, Australia - [A1] General, [A2] Africa, [A3] Far East, [A4] Asian Sub-Continent, [A5] Southeast Asia, [A6]~Mid-East,
(6-B) - North America -
(6-B-a)
US Land Use Changes -
(6-B-b)
US Land Use Inventories -
(6-B-c)
Specific States and Regions of the US - [Bc1] Far West, [Bc2] Southeast, [Bc3] Front Range, [Bc4] Midwest,
[Bc5] Northeast, [Bc6]~Great Plains,
(6-C) - South- and Central America and Europe -
(6-D) -
Global -
(6-E) -
Analysis: Rates of Urbanization of the World's Croplands, Forest Lands and Grazing
Lands

(7) -GREEN REVOLUTION, FERTILIZER, AND PESTICIDES -
(7-A) -
Green Revolution - [A1] General, [A2] Genetic Resources, [A3] Corn Belt (US), [A4] Asian Sub-Continent, [A5] South America, [A6]~Southeast Asia,
(7-B) - Fertilizer -
(7-B-a)
Historical and Basics -
(7-B-b)
Marginal Productivity of Fertilizer -
(7-B-c)
Fertilizer Consumption - [Bc1] Global, [Bc2] Africa, [Bc3] Asia (East), [Bc4] China, [Bc5] Europe, [Bc6] Asian Sub-Continent, [Bc7]~US, [Bc8] USSR (former), [Bc9] South America,
(7-B-d) Environmental Effects and Energy Requirements of Fertilizers - [Bd1] Water Quality, [Bd2] Soils, [Bd3] Energy Requirements, [Bd4]~Excess Consumption, [Bd5] Health Effects, [Bd6] Dead Zones,
(7-B-d) Environmental Effects and Energy Requirements of Fertilizer -
(7-B-e)
Phosphates and Potash Reserves -
(7-B-f)
Gross Effects of Fertilizer on Food Production -
(7-C) -
Pesticides - [C1] General, [C2] Pesticide Resistance, [C3] Pesticide Usage, [C4] Subsidies, [C5] Integrated Pest Management, [C6]~Health Effects,

(9) - FOOD SUPPLY FROM SOILS -
(9-A) -
Grain and Soybean Data -
(9-A-a)
Global - [Aa1] Grain Consumption Issues, [Aa2] Land Devoted to Grain, [Aa3] Grain Production Data, [Aa4] Grain Production per capita, [Aa5] Grain Production per Unit Area, [Aa6] Soybean Data, [Aa7] Food Stocks,
(9-A-b)
Specific Nations and Regions - [Ab1] Africa, [Ab2] Canada, [Ab3] Far East, [Ab4] Europe, [Ab5] Central America, [Ab6]~Asian Sub-Continent, [Ab7] Southeast Asia, [Ab8] USSR (former), [Ab9] US,
(9-B) - Hunger Statistics, Food Consumption and Rural Landlessness -
(9-B-a)
Global - [Ba1] Numbers of Hungry People, [Ba2] General, [Ba3] Food Aid (International),
(9-B-b) Specific Nations and Regions - [Bb1] Africa, [Bb2] Asian Sub-Continent, [Bb3] Far East, [Bb4] Europe, [Bb5] Central Asia, [Bb6]~Southeast Asia, [Bb7] Middle East, [Bb8] Latin America, [Bb9] US,
(9-C) - Miscellaneous Food Supply Issues -
(9-C-a)
Global -
(9-C-b)
Specific Nations and Regions - [Cb1] Africa, [Cb2] China, [Cb3] Asian Sub-Continent, [Cb4] Southeast Asia, [Cb5]~Middle East, [Cb6]~Central America, [Cb7] Soviet Union, [Cb8] US,

(10) - LAWS, POLITICS, HISTORY AND ECONOMIC ISSUES -
(10-A) -
Laws - Federal - [A1] US Laws Passed Prior to 1985, [A2] US Laws After 1984, [A3] Laws Outside the US,
(10-B) - Laws-State and Local -
(10-C)
- Politics - [C1] Miscellaneous, [C2] Protecting Farmland from Urbanization, [C3] Politicization of the S.C.S., [C4]`Feudalism,
(10-D) - History - [D1] US, [D2] Europe, [D3] Other Regions, [D4] Transition to Agriculture,
(10-E) - Economics -
(10-E-a)
Water-Related Erosion Costs -
(10-E-b)
Erosion Costs - [Eb1] Global, [Eb2] US Government Expenditures on Erosion Protection, [Eb3] Erosion-Prevention Costs, [Eb4]~Off-Site Erosion Costs (USA), [Eb5] On-Site US Erosion-Related Losses, [Eb6] Australia, [Eb7] Canada, [Eb8] New Mexico, [Eb9]~Java,
(10-E-c) Energy Costs -
(10-E-d)
Imports/Exports - [Ed1] Global Data, [Ed2] US Data, [Ed3] Africa (sub-Saharan), [Ed4] North Africa, [Ed5] Asia, [Ed6]~Canada, [Ed7]~Far East, [Ed8] Southeast Asia, [Ed9] Latin America, [Ed10] Mid-East, [Ed11] Asian Sub-Continent, [Ed12]~Europe.
(10-E-e) Organic Farming -
(10-E-f)
Discounting Future Harvests -
(10-E-g)
Conservation Capital -
(10-E-h)
Subsidies -
(10-E-i)
Food Prices - [Ei1] Comments, [Ei2] Global, [Ei3] US, [Ei4] Middle East, [Ei5] Central Asia.
(10-E-j) Farm Economics -
(10-E-k)
Agriculture Economics

(11) -APPENDICES -
(11-A) -
Conversion Factors - Precise - [A1] Lengths, [A2] Areas, [A3] Volumes, [A4] Weights,
(11-B) - Conversion Factors - Imprecise -
(11-C) -
Densities -
(11-D) -
Definitions of Terminology -
(11-E) -
Organizations and Information Sources on Soil Loss Issues -
(11-F) - Databases -

(12) -
REFERENCES (through 1986) - [A] Before 1980, [B] 1980 - 1982, [C] 1983 - 1985, [D] 1986,
(13) -
REFERENCES (1987 - current) - [D] 1987 - 1988, [E] 1989 - 1991, [F] 1992 - 1994, [G] 1995 - 1997, [H] 1998 - 2000, [I] 2001 - 2003, [J] 2004-2006,
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