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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 2, p. 254-259
    Received: Jan 19, 1977
    Accepted: Feb 10, 1977

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History and Challenges in Soil and Water Conservation and Management1

  1. George M. Browning2



Soil and crop management practices have been used for centuries in some parts of the world, but in the United States it was not until the 1930's that the public became concerned over the abuse of land. In response a series of emergency and long-range programs were initiated on the conservation and wise use of natural resources. Information generated by the publicly supported agricultural research system undergirded these programs. The net effect has been major improvements in how our natural resources are used. The job is far from done. Among the challenges and opportunities for additional research in the future are: (i) refine the universal soil loss equation and extend the data base to those areas where it is not available now, (ii) complete soil survey as soon as possible, (iii) strengthen our present effort to assure greater efficiency of water use for agricultural purposes, (iv) develop extensive quantitative information on the relationship between weather variables in a growing season and the yield of different crops, (v) assemble, summarize, and evaluate existing information and develop new information when needed relative to specific sets of conditions for use by all concerned in the development of realistic and practical land use plans, (vi) generate additional data essential in developing sound programs to improve the environment and at the same time maintain our capacity to meet future food requirements, (vi) improve existing tillage systems and develop new ones tailored to meet a wide range of soils, crops, and climatic conditions, and (viii) develop knowledge and plans whereby strip-mining operations can be carried out without permanent damage to the environment and soil productivity.

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