17 MARCH 1998

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
Bachelor of Science Degree Management

Dr. Jack

Southern California Campus
La Mirada Learning Center

Protection of the Worlds Topsoil

The protection of the worlds topsoil is vital to us. The soil is still the major medium for plant and crop growth and our basic resource for land use and development. Imagine our world without soil! A barren land with almost no plant growth and constant dustbowls to block out our sunlight. Erosion would destroy our mountain ranges. Our lakes, rivers and oceans would be clogged with sediments. Like any of our worlds problems, we must educate people about the problems and risks and how the depletion of topsoil affects our everyday needs. (Kirby, 1997)

Protection of the Worlds Topsoil

There are many reasons why our soils become damaged. The three biggest contributors are: erosion, deforestation and overgrazing. Erosion can be the most damaging of all three because we cannot control the weather. Erosion exists when either water or wind removes important soil particles from the earth leaving the land useless for growth. AS Vice President Al Gore states in his book, Earth in the Balance, “Iowa has lost eight inches of the best topsoil in the country and it now resides in the Gulf of Mexico” (1992). Although we cannot control Mother Nature, we can combat erosion by insuring plant or crop growth is present to naturally to dissipate the effects of erosion. If not properly managed, the damaging effects of erosion can alter out lives both socially and economically.
The second of the contributors is called deforestation. Deforestation is simply the clearing of forests to support our demands for lumber, paper products, and fuels. Without proper management of this activity, the soils are susceptible to erosion. In addition, deforestation disturbs the normally productive ecosystem of the forest land and threatens its future. Even if the forest is clear-cut and replanted, it usually is replanted with one specific kind of tree. The effect of this causes the loss of biodiversity. (Nebel / Wright, 1998)
The third of the “big three” is overgrazing. Simply, overgrazing means that the number of animals eating or grazing on the land exceeds what it can support. The effects of overgrazing are devastating. It can wipe out entire species of animals by causing malnutrition or starvation. It also leaves the land barren and unable to support life. There are several other causes of topsoil degradation, such as salinization, acidification, decertification and many others that may be undiscovered. (Nebel / Wright, 1998)
Besides the above, I feel that there are two more important concerns that should be addressed: overcultivation and pollution. Overcultivation occurs in different ways, first it can mean that the soil is being used in excess with no time for any type of regeneration. Much like our own bodies when depleted of energy, soil must undergo some type of nutrient replacement to sustain life. Overcultivation can also mean that soils are simply lost due to development. I’m sure that at some point in your life you have seen a field or perhaps even a farm which is now a mall, parking lot or even a baseball field. So, despite the need to replenish forests, trees, soils and farmland, we continue to ignore our ecological loses. The increased population forces a higher demand for food, big businesses, factories, housing, mall and even baseball fields. This rapid urban growth development may be the priority in our society today. In reality, these desires are major contributors and factors that are upsetting the balance of our ecological system.
Lastly, with an overpopulated world, comes pollution. Pollution comes in many forms. In our very first class, we have all witnessed people dumping old paint and solvents into the drain system because it simply was not cost effective to dispose of it in any other way! Think about that for a minute.................That is one small business on one small block, in one city, in one state, and in one country. Now if you examine that in global terms, you may begin to realize what a huge problem it is. Every single person counts.
Years ago, they filled and buried giant drums of chemical waste into our landfills.