Soil Erosion and Conservation in Global Agriculture

Hurni, Hans; Herweg, Karl; Portner, Brigitte; Liniger, Hanspeter (2008). Soil Erosion and Conservation in Global Agriculture. In: Braimoh, Ademola K.; Vlek, Paul L.G. (eds.) Land Use and Soil Resources (pp. 41-71). Heidelberg: Springer Verlag

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About one-sixth of the world’s land area, that is, about one-third of the land used for agriculture, has been affected by soil degradation in the historic past. While most of this damage was caused by water and wind erosion, other forms of soil degradation are induced by biological, chemical, and physical processes. Since the 1950s, pressure on agricultural land has increased considerably owing to population growth and agricultural modernization. Small-scale farming is the largest occupation in the world, involving over 2.5 billion people, over 70% of whom live below the poverty line. Soil erosion, along with other environmental threats, particularly affects these farmers by diminishing yields that are primarily used for subsistence.
Soil and water conservation measures have been developed and applied on many farms. Local and science-based innovations are available for most agroecological conditions and land management and farming types. Principles and measures developed for small-scale as well as modern agricultural systems have begun to show positive impacts in most regions of the world, particularly in wealthier states and modern systems. Much more emphasis still needs to be given to small-scale farming, which requires external support for investment in sustainable land management technologies as an indispensable and integral component of farm activities.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > NCCR North-South Management Centre [discontinued]
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Hurni, Hans, Herweg, Karl Günter, Portner, Brigitte, Liniger, Hans Peter


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




Springer Verlag




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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:17

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:23



URI: (FactScience: 200320)

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