Soil Quality and Agricultural Development
This chapter evaluates soil quality and agricultural development. Estimates of soil erosion, in terms of losses to farm income range from a high of $25 billion per year to a low of $100 million per year. Crosson estimates that the $100 million figure is the most reliable. Crosson notes that this estimate is quite low (roughly a quarter of a percent per year) and argues that the Soil Conservation Service in the US invested heavily in programs to prevent soil erosion. Crosson also notes that soil erosion rates in Europe are even lower than soil erosion rates in the U.S. On a global scale, Crosson uses estimates made by Oldeman and associates at Wageningen University and concludes that global estimates of soil erosion are low (the average overall rate of erosion-based damage is 0.1% per year). A comparison of China and Indonesia, confirmed these estimates. In Sub-Saharan Africa where cropland area is still expanding rapidly, soil erosion rates are higher because of insecure property rights in land.
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