UMass Amherst Calculates Midwest Soil Erosion Rate

A study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts calculated the present rate of soil erosion in the Midwest based on beryllium-10 amounts, and found that it is 10 to 1,000 times greater than pre-agricultural erosion rates. The researchers established the pre-agricultural rate at 0.04 mm per year. This is 25 times less than USDA’s current erosion limit of 1 mm per year, and as much as 1,000 times less than the erosion rate documented at some sites. Scientists say the results of their study have implications for food security, as well as plans to sequester carbon in soils to mitigate climate change.