Next Article in Journal
The Customer Citizenship Behaviors of Food Blog Users
Previous Article in Journal
Performance Comparison of Reservation Based and Instant Access One-Way Car Sharing Service through Discrete Event Simulation
Previous Article in Special Issue
The State of Soil Degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Baselines, Trajectories, and Solutions
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessEditorial
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12490-12501; doi:10.3390/su70912490

Soil Degradation: Will Humankind Ever Learn?

1
Research Soil Scientist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment (NLAE), 2110 University Boulevard, Ames, IA 50011-3120, USA
2
Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University, 2701 Throckmorton Ctr., Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 3 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enhancing Soil Health to Mitigate Soil Degradation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2115 KB, uploaded 11 September 2015]   |  

Abstract

Soil degradation is a global problem caused by many factors including excessive tillage, inappropriate crop rotations, excessive grazing or crop residue removal, deforestation, mining, construction and urban sprawl. To meet the needs of an expanding global population, it is essential for humankind to recognize and understand that improving soil health by adopting sustainable agricultural and land management practices is the best solution for mitigating and reversing current soil degradation trends. This research editorial is intended to provide an overview for this Special Issue of Sustainability that examines the global problem of soil degradation through reviews and recent research studies addressing soil health in Africa, Australia, China, Europe, India, North and South America, and Russia. Two common factors—soil erosion and depletion of soil organic matter (SOM)—emerge as consistent indicators of how “the thin layer covering the planet that stands between us and starvation” is being degraded. Soil degradation is not a new problem but failing to acknowledge, mitigate, and remediate the multiple factors leading to it is no longer a viable option for humankind. We optimistically conclude that the most promising strategies to mitigate soil degradation are to select appropriate land uses and improve soil management practices so that SOM is increased, soil biology is enhanced, and all forms of erosion are reduced. Collectively, these actions will enable humankind to “take care of the soil so it can take care of us”. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil health; soil quality; sustainable intensification; soil biology; erosion; soil organic matter; carbon sequestration soil health; soil quality; sustainable intensification; soil biology; erosion; soil organic matter; carbon sequestration
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Karlen, D.L.; Rice, C.W. Soil Degradation: Will Humankind Ever Learn? Sustainability 2015, 7, 12490-12501.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top