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Shifting Ground: The Changing Agricultural Soils of China and Indonesia

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  • Peter H. Lindert

    ()
    (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity. China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia's lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure. Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends.

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by The MIT Press in its series MIT Press Books with number 0262122278 and published in 2000.

Volume: 1
Edition: 1
ISBN: 0-262-12227-8
Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262122278

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu

Related research

Keywords: environment; China; Indonesia;

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Cited by:
  1. Schimmelpfennig, David, 2003. "Agricultural Science Policy: Changing Global Agendas: Julian M. Alston, Philip G. Pardey, Michael J. Taylor (Eds.), Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, International Food Policy Rese," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 74-76, January.
  2. Vernon W. Ruttan, 2002. "Productivity Growth in World Agriculture: Sources and Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 161-184, Fall.
  3. Wiebe, Keith D., 2003. "Linking Land Quality, Agricultural Productivity, And Food Security," Agricultural Economics Reports 34073, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  4. Pierre van der Eng, 2009. "Market Responses to Climate Stress: Rice in Java in the 1930s," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2009-509, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  5. James Roumasset & Kimberly Burnett & Hua Wang, 2007. "Is China’s Growth Sustainable?," Working Papers 200723, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  6. Coxhead, Ian, 2002. "Development and the Environment in Asia: A Survey of Recent Literature," Staff Paper Series 455, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.

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