Ranging from ancient times to modern-day environmental threats, a natural and cultural history of soil explains how an elimination of protective vegetation and an exposure to wind and rain causes severe erosion of cultivated soils, how the ...
Ranging from ancient times to modern-day environmental threats, a natural and cultural history of soil explains how an elimination of protective vegetation and an exposure to wind and rain causes severe erosion of cultivated soils, how the use and abuse of soil has shaped human history, and the how the rise of organic and no-till farming holds hope for the future.
Policy makers at all levels as well as concerned citizens should take Dave's lessons to heart. In addition, this is THE book for the layman wondering anything about dirt's role in human history and its fate.With unrelenting precision, Dave builds the case-by-case history of civilizations misusing the dirt to their ultimate misfortune. As a top-flight scientist and admirable philosopher, he lays bare the storyline of people first using dirt modestly, then disturbing and losing their topsoil in dozens of ca..
Though the title says Dirt, it should actually say Soil, as this book is about how numerous civilizations destroyed themselves by adopting unsustainable farming practices that eventually destroyed their land. The author examines the histories of England, Roman Empire, ancient Greece, pre-colonial Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Pharaoic Egypt, continental Europe, Communist Russia, the antebellum South, Colonial New England, and China. The conclusions he draws from all are the same, agricultural practices driven by..
While David R. Montgomery goes on a bit long and repetitively about how and why and where and how fast soils erode, the more interesting part of the book is the new look at history--why the Romans sought new lands to conquer, how Thomas Jefferson tried and failed to get widespread adoption of contour plowing, how the depletion of the southeast's agricultural soils provided yet more impetus for the Civil War, how even in ancient times writers urged soil husbandry, yet were largely ignored as they still are t..