Land degradation and agricultural land sustainability. The case of the United States' "Dust Bowl"

Essay, 2016

9 Pages, Grade: A+



Basic information and nature of soil.

Predisposes conditions and mode of soil erosion.

Historical meaning, occurrence and visual aids of Dust Bowl.

Dust Bowl’s effects on humans and environment.

Agricultural cultural practices use in averting future Dust Bowl.


Basic information and nature of soil.

Soil production emanates when small pieces of weather-beaten rocks and minerals mix with organic materials from putrefying plants and animals (Patsalides, 2011). The biological systems and the natural investment bonds that yield soil formation are critical to the operational of the Earth’s life-support system (Costanza et al., 1997). This contributes to the social welfare; both directly and indirectly, and therefore epitomize part of the total financial value of the planet Earth (Costanza et al., 1997).

Although, soil creation is a gentle procedure and took several years (Patsalides, 2011). However, it is the reservoir supporting plants and animals growth (Grime, 2006). Soil stands to be one of the most important resources humanity has possessed and more importantly, in the country farm crops are planted into them (De Groot, Wilson, & Boumans, 2002).

Without soil, there would not be any life on Earth due to starvation and hunger (Costanza et al., 1997). All kinds of plants, from tall towering oaks to tiny sensitive mimosa plants grow in the soil (Phipps, 2016). Many kinds of animals, worms, insects, and bacteria live in the soil to support the weathering processes (Patsalides, 2011).

Predisposes conditions and mode of soil erosion.

Soil erosion is the wearing a way of the earth (Mobley, 2004). Topsoil is the top fertile stratum of soil containing the most organic and nutrient-rich materials that support plants growth (Phipps, 2016). Unfortunately, soil is vulnerable to erosion and can wear away due to the effects of forces, such as water, wind, and poor agricultural practices (Siemens Foundation Discovery, 2008).

In furtherance, human beings can cause soil to erode through the practices like tilling fields and clearing of vegetation (Mobley, 2004). Soil compaction is one of the major problems facing modern agriculture. The compaction is due to the overuse of machinery, intensive cropping, short crop rotations, intensive grazing and inappropriate soil management leads to compaction (Hamza & Anderson, 2005).

Historical meaning, occurrence and visual aids of Dust Bowl.

Wind destruction is simply the loss of topsoil due to wind (Siemens Foundation Discovery, 2008). The wind force has a powerful force of corroding soil if the area does not have a lot of flora or vegetation cover, which tend latch the soil in place (Phipps, 2016). Soil with high sand content is more susceptible to wind because sand elements are not held together as firmly (Guoli, Jiyuan, Quanqin, & Jun, 2014).

A damaging sequence of soil then transpires to decrease plant growth leading to lesser inputs of fresh organic matter to the soil, reduced actions of microorganisms, and increased wear and tear due to farming practices (Hamza & Anderson, 2005). In addition, soil is exposed to natural and manmade forces that disturb its potentials for plant support (Patsalides, 2011). Although, soil took millions of years to form, it can also be effortlessly lost or ruined within a second (Mobley, 2004).

Human modification of the global setting has activated the sixth main destruction event in the account of life and instigated extensive changes in the global distribution of organisms, which assist in soil formation (Chapin et al., 2000). The alterations in biodiversity modify ecosystem developments and change the flexibility of ecosystems to ecological change (Chapin, et al., 2000). The word “dust” came through the old English language, by a way of German “dunst”, which meant vapor, smoke, or cloud (Downs, 2000).

The word “bowl” came from Latin “ bolla”, a round vessel, rather wide but not deep (Downs, 2000). Between 1930 and 1940, the southwestern Great Plains region of the United States suffered a severe drought (Foner & Garraty, 1991). Farmers in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado continued with their poor farming practices (Downs, 2000).

The grasslands had been extremely cultivated and planted with wheat, because it had a good price (Steinbeck, 1984). The ground cover that held the soil was gone. The Great Plains winds whipped across the fields raising billowing clouds of dust to the sky on Sunday, April 14 1935 (Foner & Garraty, 1991). This day known as the “Black Sunday” because the dust storm turned the day to night (Steinbeck, 1984). These massive clouds of dust traveled as far as to the Atlantic Ocean, raining down soil on shipping vessels, which were about 300 miles (483km) out to sea (Downs, 2000).

Dust Bowl’s effects on humans and environment.

Soil erosion influences the agricultural industry as well as the natural environment (Hamza & Anderson, 2005). When the topsoil is battered, the field misplaces its most nutrient-rich cover, and therefore soil worth is reduced (Chapin, et al., 2000). Any time the organic matter on the top layer of soil is removed; this weakens the soil's ability to hold water, parting the field susceptible to weather conditions like droughts and soil acidity (Pitt, 2003).

Wind erosion can also vehicle topsoil, deteriorate soil quality, and damage fledgling seedlings by blasting them with sand (Pitt, 2003). Distributed topsoil can uncover and expose some seedlings, while at the same time, burying other seedlings too deep (Guoli, Jiyuan, Quanqin, & Jun, 2014). In addition, when farmer's fields undertake unwarranted tillage, meaning the field is toiled too rigid in preparation for planting, the soil structure can be gone, making it susceptible to erosion (Kaumbutho & Mwenya, 2000).


Excerpt out of 9 pages


Land degradation and agricultural land sustainability. The case of the United States' "Dust Bowl"
Walden University  (Technology and Management)
Sustainability Management
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
499 KB
land, united, states, dust, bowl
Quote paper
MBA Franklin Atadja (Author), 2016, Land degradation and agricultural land sustainability. The case of the United States' "Dust Bowl", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Land degradation and agricultural land sustainability. The case of the United States' "Dust Bowl"

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free