Soil Erosion and Food Security

  • Humberto Blanco-Canqui
  • Rattan Lal


Soil is the basis for crop production because about 99% of food is produced from the soil (Pimentel, 2000). Thus, food security depends directly on soil productivity. Accelerated soil erosion is among principal causes of the decrease in soil productivity and increase in risks of global food insecurity (Fig. 19.1). The magnitude of erosional impacts on ecosystem productivity and food security is, however, complex, variable, and soil specific. Crop production in regions with highly mechanized agriculture and large-scale farms coupled with the use of improved crop varieties, fertilizers, irrigation practices, and other advanced technological inputs has progressively increased since the 1960’s, thereby masking the potential threat of erosion on food security. The increase in food production under intensive farming practices, however, must not be generalized across all ecoregions because it has not occurred in all regions, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (FAO, 2006).


Soil Organic Matter Food Security Crop Yield Soil Erosion Soil Loss 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Humberto Blanco-Canqui
    • 1
  • Rattan Lal
    • 1
  1. 1.Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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