Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 119–137 | Cite as

Soil Erosion: A Food and Environmental Threat

  • David PimentelEmail author


Soil erosion is one of the most serious environmental and public health problems facing human society. Humans obtain more than 99.7% of their food (calories) from the land and less than 0.3% from the oceans and other aquatic ecosystems. Each year about 10 million ha of cropland are lost due to soil erosion, thus reducing the cropland available for food production. The loss of cropland is a serious problem because the World Health Organization reports that more than 3.7 billion people are malnourished in the world. Overall soil is being lost from land areas 10 to 40 times faster than the rate of soil renewal imperiling future human food security and environmental quality.


environment erosion food nutrition soil water wind 


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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Agriculture and Life SciencesCornell UniversityIthaca

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