"As Its Topsoil Washes Away, The Corn Belt Is Losing Yields — And Carbon"

"Scientists have found that the Corn Belt region of the U.S. Midwest, which produces 75% of U.S. corn, has lost around 35% of its most fertile topsoil since European colonization in the 1600s.

This was the first study to use satellites and lidar to estimate the relationship between soil loss and the topography of the land, verified by on-the-ground soil samples. Hilltops were often completely denuded of topsoil and soil in low-lying areas was prone to erosion.

When soil is lost, so is the carbon stored in the ground. Globally, more carbon is stored in the soil than in all the Earth’s plants and the atmosphere combined.

Bringing soil back to the Corn Belt, experts say, will require a combination of regenerative agriculture and managing farms at the landscape level, planting in areas with high average yield and restoring other areas to pasture or using soil-building methods such as cover cropping."

Liz Kimbrough reports for Mongabay December 31, 2021.

Source: Mongabay, 01/03/2022