Soil erosion in developing countries: A politicoeconomic explanation

  • Gopal B. Thapa
  • Karl E. Weber


Soil erosion is accelerating in developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It has threatened the livelihood of millions of peasants, for agriculture is their economic mainstay. A probe into the forces causing erosion reveals that the elite’s resolve to accumulate ever more wealth and to maintain, consolidate, or expand their sociopolitical power and the necessity of the poor to fulfill their requirements of food, fuelwood, and fodder are the two major factors accelerating soil erosion. Unless the vast masses of poor people are integrated into the national mainstream through the implementation of equitable and redistributive development policies, it is impossible to control the accelerating rate of soil erosion and thus to achieve the objective of sustainable development.

Key words

Soil erosion Developing countries Shifting cultivation Land distribution Commercial agriculture Logging Farming system Soil management 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gopal B. Thapa
    • 1
  • Karl E. Weber
    • 1
  1. 1.Asian Institute of TechnologyBangkokThailand

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