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Earth has lost 1/3 of arable land in past 40 years, study

Earth has lost 1/3 of arable land in past 40 years, study

MEXICO: A new study conducted by the University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures reports some rather alarming fact about how much arable soil we’re losing to bad farming practices, erosion, and pollution, just as global demand for food is growing rapidly. The researchers have found that over the past four decades, nearly 33% of the world’s arable land has been lost, and the scientists “urge that a sustainable model for intensive agriculture is crucial to cope with the increase in global food production needed to feed the world’s growing population.”

Duncan Cameron, Professor of Plant and Soil Biology at the University of Sheffield, said: “Soil is lost rapidly but replaced over millennia and this represents one of the greatest global threats for agriculture. Erosion rates from ploughed fields average 10-100 times greater than rates of soil formation and nearly 33 per cent of the world’s arable land has been lost to erosion or pollution in the last 40 years.” He adds: “This is catastrophic when you think that it takes about 500 years to form 2.5 cm of topsoil under normal agricultural conditions. A sustainable model for intensive agriculture could combine the lessons of history with the benefits of modern biotechnology.”