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Soil erosion and productivity research: A regional approach

  • Alice J. Jones (a1), Rattan Lal (a2) and David R. Huggins (a3)

Abstract

Soil erosion is occurring at an alarming rate and threatens soil productivity and crop growth. A regional research committee was formed in the North Central region of the US in 1983 to develop a better understanding of soil erosion and productivity relationships on a broad geographic scale. This paper presents the history, project development and implementation and results of the committee, and a perspective on soil erosion-productivity research approaches. The original project included multistate field experiments on soils selected f or their local extent or agricultural importance. Erosion was classified as slight, moderate, or severe. Cropping practices were continuous corn or small grains, with cultural practices appropriate f or the area. The crop yields on moderately and severely eroded soils were consistently lower than on comparable slightly eroded soils. Precipitation and soil available water holding capacity were the factors most often identified as affecting yields. Other specific limitations were soil- or location-dependent. The most frequent soil limitations were depth of the mollic epipedon/topsoil, organic matter and clay content. Evolving objectives of the committee and state-based research emphases have provided additional information germane to soil erosion-productivity research. More than 40 papers have been published on soil properties, crop growth, management, and modeling as a result of this effort. The regional approach has fostered research on complex interactions among management and environmental factors and led to an increased understanding of functional relationships between soil erosion and productivity.

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Keywords

Soil erosion and productivity research: A regional approach

  • Alice J. Jones (a1), Rattan Lal (a2) and David R. Huggins (a3)

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