Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Degraded soils a threat to poorest regions


Soil scientists have spent decades warning that soil degradation is a threat to food security worldwide. But while policy makers remained sceptical, new research is revealing an alarming trend.

In this article, Jocelyn Kaiser looks at the links emerging between degraded soil and a slump in global crop yields, particularly in Africa, Latin America and South Asia. But while methods of combating erosion, nutrient depletion and salinisation exist, the trick is making them affordable for developing nations.

Some researchers say the biggest threat, however, is the combination of global warming with soil degradation. Higher temperatures could mean less organic matter, more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and even higher erosion rates.

Link to article in Science

Reference: Science, 304, 1616 (2004)

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.