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Risk of declining soil production will impact food security


Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Saturday, May 9, 2015, 12:14 PM - Soil productivity is at risk of decline. According to a recent scientific review, this decline will impact food security.

The review, "Soil and Human Security in the 21st Century," cites "soil erosion, nutrient exhaustion, urbanization, and climate change," among the many threats to soil productivity that will impact food production, Science Daily reports.

The University of Delaware's Donald L. Sparks is among the leading soil scientists that co-authored the article. According to Sparks, humans are also to blame for the decline in soil productivity.

"Historically, humans have been disturbing the soil since the advent of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago," Sparks said in an interview with Science Daily.


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"We have now reached the point where about 40 percent of Earth's terrestrial surface is used for agricultural purposes. Another large and rapidly expanding portion is urbanized. We're already using the most productive land, and the remainder is likely to be much less useful in feeding our growing population," Sparks added.

The scientist told Science Daily that "human civilizations have risen and fallen based on the state of their soils," adding that "[o]ur future security really depends on our ability to take care of what's beneath our feet."

Sparks notes that producing enough food will depend on finding alternative ways to use and handle the agricultural lands already cultivated, Science Daily reports.

SOURCES: Science Daily | Science Magazine/AAAS

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