International Study Sheds Light on Soil Longevity

A global study led by Lancaster University in the UK examined soil erosion data from 38 countries on six continents for insight on how erosion impacts soil longevity. The study revealed that more than 90% of the conventionally farmed soils in the study were thinning, and 16% had lifespans of less than a century. The study’s lead author noted, “This study provides the first evidence-backed, globally relevant estimates of soil lifespans.” He added, “Our study shows that soil erosion is a critical threat to global soil sustainability, and we need urgent action to prevent further rapid loss of soils and their delivery of vital ecosystem services.” The study also showed that only 7% of soil under conservation management had lifespans shorter than a century, and nearly half exceeded 5,000 years, while some soils under conservation management were actually thickening.