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Please do Avery Wu’s part, the future of topsoil

Team Leader: Luis Monzon

Members: Milan Lad, Avery Wu, Diana Jundi, Luis Monzon, Jay Seol

Sources:

  • Books
    • Sudo, Shigeo. “Visual and Environmental Concerns for the Higashi Fujigoko

Highway in Japan.” Parkways, Greenways, Riverways: A Partnership for Beauty and Progress, by International Linear Parks Conference, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, 1991, pp. 84–90. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xp3n9z.12. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

  • Martin, Philip A., et al. “SHRUBLAND AND HEATHLAND

CONSERVATION.” What Works in Conservation: 2018, edited by Rebecca K. Smith et al., 1st ed., vol. 3, Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK, 2018, pp. 447–494. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv4ncnwf.11. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

  • Scherr, Sara J. Soil degradation: a threat to developing-country food security by

2020?. Vol. 27. Intl Food Policy Res Inst, 1999.

  • Non-Books
    • Bahram, M., Hildebrand, F., Forslund, S.K. et al. Structure and function of the

global topsoil microbiome. Nature 560, 233–237 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0386-6

  • Abdul-Kareem, A.W., McRae, S.G. The effects on topsoil of long-term storage in

stockpiles. Plant Soil 76, 357–363 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02205593

  • Fang X-M, Chen F-S, Wan S-Z, Yang Q-P, Shi J-M (2015) Topsoil and Deep Soil

Organic Carbon Concentration and Stability Vary with Aggregate Size and Vegetation Type in Subtropical China. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0139380. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0139380

  • Foster, G. R. (2001). Keynote: soil erosion prediction technology for conservation

planning. Sustaining Global Farm, 847-851

  • Lal, R. A. T. T. A. N. (2001). Soil degradation by erosion. Land degradation &

development, 12(6), 519-539.

  • Montgomery, David R. “Soil Erosion and Agricultural Sustainability.” PNAS,

National Academy of Sciences, 14 Aug. 2007, www.pnas.org/content/104/33/13268.

  • B. A. Pinchak, et al. “Topsoil and Mulch Effects on Plant Species and Community

Responses of Revegetated Mined Land.” Journal of Range Management, vol. 38, no. 3, 1985, pp. 262–265. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3898981. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

  • David E. Pettry, et al. “Effects of Topsoil Thickness on Winter Annual Weed

Biomass Production and Nutrient Flux.” Weed Technology, vol. 5, no. 4, 1991, pp. 864–867. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3986906. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

  • ALDEEB, ABDULREHMAN A., et al. “Physical and Engineering Properties of

Treatment Plant Residuals and Disposal.” Journal (American Water Works Association), vol. 95, no. 8, 2003, pp. 127–137. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41311556. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

  • Gould, Ann B., and Anthony E. Liberta. “Effects of Topsoil Storage during

Surface Mining on the Viability of Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhiza.” Mycologia, vol. 73, no. 5, 1981, pp. 914–922. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3759802. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

  • Oldeman, L. Roel. “Global extent of soil degradation.” Bi-Annual Report

1991-1992/ISRIC. ISRIC, 1992. 19-36.

  • Lal, Rattan. “Restoring soil quality to mitigate soil degradation.” Sustainability

7.5 (2015): 5875-5895.

  • Piikki, K., Söderström, M., & Stenberg, B. (2013). Sensor data fusion for topsoil

clay mapping. Geoderma, 199, 106-116.

  • Van Egmond, F. M., Loonstra, E. H., & Limburg, J. (2010). Gamma ray sensor for

topsoil mapping: The Mole. In Proximal Soil Sensing (pp. 323-332). Springer, Dordrecht.

Outline

History

  • Topsoil is classified as the first 5-10 inches of upper most layer of dirt that covers the planet
  • It is a robust ecosystem that contains millions of microorganisms and many minerals that are needed to sustain all forms of plant life
  • As civilization grows, or drastic changes to the environment occur, often time this top layer of soil is washed away or overfarmed
  • This results in soil erosion which can be talked in geographical or compositional terms
    • Geographical: The top layer of soil is washed away and relocated in lakes or rivers
    • Compositional: Top layer of soil lacks organic matter, minerals, nitrogen
  • The cause that we will focus on is agriculture
  • Topsoil that was created over millions of years of decomposing is being harmed and nearly destroyed within a few centuries

Current State

  • Currently much of the world has adopted monoculture farming to meet the needs of humans around the worlds
  • Monoculture farming now occupies approximately half of the habitable land on the planet
    • It provides approximately 90 percent of the food we eat, directly or indirectly.
      • All of our fruits and vegetables, as well as feed for animals such as grain, soy, and corn
  • In most continents, over 70% of the land has been degraded past the point of where the soil can no longer repair itself
    • This is due to poor crop rotation
    • An example is corn and coffee. These crops are grown in the same plot of land year after year. The nutrients in the soil are depleted, which brings the need to use industrial grade fertilizers and pesticides to keep growing crops on the land.
  • This degradation causes plants to need additional nutrition which comes from industrial fertilizers and pesticides.
    • Fertilizers shown to increase pathogens, which then results in more pesticides, insecticides, and bactericides being used
  • Other farming methods such as tilling compact the soil or loosen it up causing it to be blown away or not absorb water as efficiently.
    • Most farming land is stripped of other crops, grass, and vegetation that covers the top soil. This prevents the top soil from retaining moisture and causes it to dry out. This means that it becomes much easier to blow away with the wind.
    • Also more susceptible to water run off by rain

Importance of Topsoil

  • The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the most important components of our food system
    • Topsoil is rich in organic matter, contains a huge diversity of life and contains all the nutrients that plants need to survive.
  • In 1950, 0.5 Hectares of arable land were globally available per person. In the year 2000, this area has decreased to 0.25 hectares per person and due to the increase of the world’s population, it is estimated that, by 2050, this area will decline to only 0.15 hectares per person
  • Organic matter positively influences, or modifies the effect of, essentially all soil properties
    • A study of soils in Michigan demonstrated potential crop-yield increases of about 12% for every 1% organic matte
  • Much of the planet’s biodiversity resides in the soil: it’s estimated that an acre of soil may contain 900 pounds of earthworms, 2400 pounds of fungi, 1500 pounds of bacteria, 133 pounds of protozoa, 890 pounds of arthropods and algae, and even sometimes small mammals
  • One gram of soil may hold one billion bacteria, of which only 5 percent have been discovered

Future

  • By 2050, crop yields are estimated to drop by 10%, the equivalent of not having millions of hectares used for farming
  • Others estimate that we only have 60 years of topsoil left
  • Losing topsoil means reduced food production, which can cause starvation to ensue. Some countries like Mongolia, North Korea, and Haiti are already experiencing some of the repercussions
  • Mongolia used to grow wheat, but now resorts to importing 20% of the wheat that they use
    • Their wheat fields have been abandoned

How IT has affected topsoil

  • Good
    • Databases and accurate soil quality tracking has lead to the creation of databases which can be used to create management strategies on soil manipulation to protect soil
    • Soil erosion models added to geographic information systems can help use monitor movement of soil from farms or other areas affected by natural causes
    • There is no technology that I’ve found that helps reduce topsoil erosion, but a collection of monitoring has allowed us to create methods to reduce the erosion of topsoil.
      • Crop rotation, conservation tillage, contour farming, strip farming, terrace farming, grass waterways, and diversion structures
  • Bad
    • Information systems used to monitor current farms have allowed us to farm much easier
    • Self driving tractors(compaction), synthetic fertilizers and pesticides(erosion) have all made it easier for us to grow food, but ruin our topsoil at the same time
  • Till Technology
    • Tillage of the soil has been used to prepare a seedbed, kill weeds, incorporate nutrients, and manage crop residues. The goal of the tillage system has been to provide a proper environment for seed germination and root growth for crop production
    • Throughout the years, tillage systems have changed as new technologies have become available and the costs of fuel and labor increased
    • Modern no-till tractor implements allow farmers to sow seeds faster and cheaper than if they tilled their fields.
    • With no-till, the improved soil structure and moisture conserving residue cover makes more water available for crop production by improving infiltration and decreasing evaporation from the soil surface.
    • Improved soil structure and soil cover increase the soil’s ability to absorb and infiltrate water, which in turn reduces soil erosion and runoff and prevents pollution from entering nearby water sources.
  • Soil Mapping
    • Farmers typically focus their crop management decisions on a variety of factors: their historical awareness, their field experience, and soil sample studies.
    • Using precision agriculture to maximize agricultural output requires accurate, high-resolution soil details.
    • In current agricultural practice, this degree of information is generally not possible because of the expense of conventional soil sampling techniques.
    • Current sensor technology, however, provides an ability to create high-resolution soil maps that can be used to help farm decision making and crop management.
    • Topsoil mapping introduces a highly responsive sensor system focused on the normal absorption of gamma radiation from the soil, which allows possible quantitative analysis of the tillage layer’s physical and chemical soil properties.
    • This system is seen to be capable of generating the high-resolution maps needed for precision farming, and evidence is shown that it has already led to increases in yields in conjunction with precision farming techniques.
  • Soil Erosion Prediction Technology
    • Based on temperature, climate, topography, and land use- soil erosion prediction techniques are statistical procedures that forecast levels of erosion and sediment distribution and sediment characteristics for particular locations.
    • Such systems differ according to the basic principles upon which the procedures are based, the mechanisms and results described by the methods, the governing equations, the mathematical form relating the equations, and the variables on which computations are made.
    • Estimated values for the same variable can vary significantly between soil erosion models.
    • Soil erosion prediction technology may be categorized as either lumped process-based or fundamental process-based under one of two broad groups.
    • The underlying mathematical framework usually reflects vital effects in the lumped process-based models, with a collection of empirically constructed indices and parameter values.
    • The aim is not to describe processes of erosion but to describe the critical effects of the variables that impact processes of decay.
    • Specific erosion processes are defined explicitly in the fundamental process-based model, and the effects of variables on soil erosion are explained by how those variables influence the basic processes depicted in the model.
    • Both models of erosion, whatever their underlying form, need empirical evidence.
    • When such models are to be used in environmental planning, even the most technically sophisticated models require empirical evidence to establish values for parameters such as soil credibility.
    • The criteria for models of erosion differ according to the model’s intended intent.
    • The criteria for a model used in a research erosion analysis vary significantly

from those for a model used by field staff in daily environmental planning.

  • Erosion Assessment Engineering criteria for Environmental Management
    • Relevance:
      • Must refer to the mechanisms of erosion under review in the planning phase. That is, for calculating gully erosion, a model designed to quantify sheet and rill erosion usually can not be used.
    • Consistent, reliable findings:
      • Must use parameters in which the same or different users select compatible input values for the same or identical situations.
      • While land users will not be able to determine absolute values from projections of soil erosion, they can accurately evaluate the accuracy of estimated values.
      • Inconsistent findings significantly reduce a model’s credibility.
    • Wide spectrum of technologies covered:
      • Users generally support a common model that extends to all cases where erosion is a problem in their preparation practices for the restoration.
      • Having independent models poses issues in cases where the models intersect since the test outcomes are always inconsistent.
    • Accessibilty:
      • The tools required, such as computers, as well as the skills and time required to use the software and input the data, needs to be attainable.
      • If the money required to use a model outweigh the expected importance of the model’s performance, the conservation manager should avoid using a given model.
    • Validity:
      • Model must be accurate.
  • Modeling Soil Erosion: Development of USLE
    • The estimation of soil erosion has been a problem for scientists since the 1930s.
    • An analytical method was formulated in approximately1933 to predict soil erosion, involving parameters such as soil dispersion, infiltration rate, soil permeability, and particle size.
    • The main predecessor of the universal equation of soil depletion is USLE, a concept suggested in 1947 by Musgrave.
    • He established a parametric model that related erosion to soil vegetation cover, slope gradient, duration of a slope, and maximum intensity of 30 minutes.
    • It was this calculation that Wischmeier and Smith updated in 1958, which continued to be known as USLE.
    • The USLE has been commonly used, and since its creation, many enhancements and improvements have been developed.
    • The USLE was established as an equation of regression to forecast cropland soil erosion on a hill-side.
    • This had been updated to forecast soil degradation in certain circumstances throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
    • The updated universal soil loss equation (MUSLE) was established to estimate single-storm erosion, river sediment yield, erosion and sediment yield from rangelands, woodland soil erosion, and flatlands.Team Leader: Luis MonzonMembers: Milan Lad, Avery Wu, Diana Jundi, Luis Monzon, Jay Seol
      Sources:
      • Books
        • Sudo, Shigeo. “Visual and Environmental Concerns for the Higashi Fujigoko

      Highway in Japan.” Parkways, Greenways, Riverways: A Partnership for Beauty and Progress, by International Linear Parks Conference, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, 1991, pp. 84–90. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xp3n9z.12. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

      • Martin, Philip A., et al. “SHRUBLAND AND HEATHLAND

      CONSERVATION.” What Works in Conservation: 2018, edited by Rebecca K. Smith et al., 1st ed., vol. 3, Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK, 2018, pp. 447–494. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv4ncnwf.11. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

      • Scherr, Sara J. Soil degradation: a threat to developing-country food security by

      2020?. Vol. 27. Intl Food Policy Res Inst, 1999.

      • Non-Books
        • Bahram, M., Hildebrand, F., Forslund, S.K. et al. Structure and function of the

      global topsoil microbiome. Nature 560, 233–237 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0386-6

      • Abdul-Kareem, A.W., McRae, S.G. The effects on topsoil of long-term storage in

      stockpiles. Plant Soil 76, 357–363 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02205593

      • Fang X-M, Chen F-S, Wan S-Z, Yang Q-P, Shi J-M (2015) Topsoil and Deep Soil

      Organic Carbon Concentration and Stability Vary with Aggregate Size and Vegetation Type in Subtropical China. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0139380. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0139380

      • Foster, G. R. (2001). Keynote: soil erosion prediction technology for conservation

      planning. Sustaining Global Farm, 847-851

      • Lal, R. A. T. T. A. N. (2001). Soil degradation by erosion. Land degradation &

      development, 12(6), 519-539.

      • Montgomery, David R. “Soil Erosion and Agricultural Sustainability.” PNAS,

      National Academy of Sciences, 14 Aug. 2007, www.pnas.org/content/104/33/13268.

      • B. A. Pinchak, et al. “Topsoil and Mulch Effects on Plant Species and Community

      Responses of Revegetated Mined Land.” Journal of Range Management, vol. 38, no. 3, 1985, pp. 262–265. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3898981. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

      • David E. Pettry, et al. “Effects of Topsoil Thickness on Winter Annual Weed

      Biomass Production and Nutrient Flux.” Weed Technology, vol. 5, no. 4, 1991, pp. 864–867. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3986906. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

      • ALDEEB, ABDULREHMAN A., et al. “Physical and Engineering Properties of

      Treatment Plant Residuals and Disposal.” Journal (American Water Works Association), vol. 95, no. 8, 2003, pp. 127–137. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41311556. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

      • Gould, Ann B., and Anthony E. Liberta. “Effects of Topsoil Storage during

      Surface Mining on the Viability of Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhiza.” Mycologia, vol. 73, no. 5, 1981, pp. 914–922. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3759802. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

      • Oldeman, L. Roel. “Global extent of soil degradation.” Bi-Annual Report

      1991-1992/ISRIC. ISRIC, 1992. 19-36.

      • Lal, Rattan. “Restoring soil quality to mitigate soil degradation.” Sustainability

      7.5 (2015): 5875-5895.

      • Piikki, K., Söderström, M., & Stenberg, B. (2013). Sensor data fusion for topsoil

      clay mapping. Geoderma, 199, 106-116.

      • Van Egmond, F. M., Loonstra, E. H., & Limburg, J. (2010). Gamma ray sensor for

      topsoil mapping: The Mole. In Proximal Soil Sensing (pp. 323-332). Springer, Dordrecht.

      OutlineHistory

      • Topsoil is classified as the first 5-10 inches of upper most layer of dirt that covers the planet
      • It is a robust ecosystem that contains millions of microorganisms and many minerals that are needed to sustain all forms of plant life
      • As civilization grows, or drastic changes to the environment occur, often time this top layer of soil is washed away or overfarmed
      • This results in soil erosion which can be talked in geographical or compositional terms
        • Geographical: The top layer of soil is washed away and relocated in lakes or rivers
        • Compositional: Top layer of soil lacks organic matter, minerals, nitrogen
      • The cause that we will focus on is agriculture
      • Topsoil that was created over millions of years of decomposing is being harmed and nearly destroyed within a few centuries

      Current State

      • Currently much of the world has adopted monoculture farming to meet the needs of humans around the worlds
      • Monoculture farming now occupies approximately half of the habitable land on the planet
        • It provides approximately 90 percent of the food we eat, directly or indirectly.
          • All of our fruits and vegetables, as well as feed for animals such as grain, soy, and corn
      • In most continents, over 70% of the land has been degraded past the point of where the soil can no longer repair itself
        • This is due to poor crop rotation
        • An example is corn and coffee. These crops are grown in the same plot of land year after year. The nutrients in the soil are depleted, which brings the need to use industrial grade fertilizers and pesticides to keep growing crops on the land.
      • This degradation causes plants to need additional nutrition which comes from industrial fertilizers and pesticides.
        • Fertilizers shown to increase pathogens, which then results in more pesticides, insecticides, and bactericides being used
      • Other farming methods such as tilling compact the soil or loosen it up causing it to be blown away or not absorb water as efficiently.
        • Most farming land is stripped of other crops, grass, and vegetation that covers the top soil. This prevents the top soil from retaining moisture and causes it to dry out. This means that it becomes much easier to blow away with the wind.
        • Also more susceptible to water run off by rain

      Importance of Topsoil

      • The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the most important components of our food system
        • Topsoil is rich in organic matter, contains a huge diversity of life and contains all the nutrients that plants need to survive.
      • In 1950, 0.5 Hectares of arable land were globally available per person. In the year 2000, this area has decreased to 0.25 hectares per person and due to the increase of the world’s population, it is estimated that, by 2050, this area will decline to only 0.15 hectares per person
      • Organic matter positively influences, or modifies the effect of, essentially all soil properties
        • A study of soils in Michigan demonstrated potential crop-yield increases of about 12% for every 1% organic matte
      • Much of the planet’s biodiversity resides in the soil: it’s estimated that an acre of soil may contain 900 pounds of earthworms, 2400 pounds of fungi, 1500 pounds of bacteria, 133 pounds of protozoa, 890 pounds of arthropods and algae, and even sometimes small mammals
      • One gram of soil may hold one billion bacteria, of which only 5 percent have been discovered

      Future

      • By 2050, crop yields are estimated to drop by 10%, the equivalent of not having millions of hectares used for farming
      • Others estimate that we only have 60 years of topsoil left
      • Losing topsoil means reduced food production, which can cause starvation to ensue. Some countries like Mongolia, North Korea, and Haiti are already experiencing some of the repercussions
      • Mongolia used to grow wheat, but now resorts to importing 20% of the wheat that they use
        • Their wheat fields have been abandoned

      How IT has affected topsoil

      • Good
        • Databases and accurate soil quality tracking has lead to the creation of databases which can be used to create management strategies on soil manipulation to protect soil
        • Soil erosion models added to geographic information systems can help use monitor movement of soil from farms or other areas affected by natural causes
        • There is no technology that I’ve found that helps reduce topsoil erosion, but a collection of monitoring has allowed us to create methods to reduce the erosion of topsoil.
          • Crop rotation, conservation tillage, contour farming, strip farming, terrace farming, grass waterways, and diversion structures
      • Bad
        • Information systems used to monitor current farms have allowed us to farm much easier
        • Self driving tractors(compaction), synthetic fertilizers and pesticides(erosion) have all made it easier for us to grow food, but ruin our topsoil at the same time
      • Till Technology
        • Tillage of the soil has been used to prepare a seedbed, kill weeds, incorporate nutrients, and manage crop residues. The goal of the tillage system has been to provide a proper environment for seed germination and root growth for crop production
        • Throughout the years, tillage systems have changed as new technologies have become available and the costs of fuel and labor increased
        • Modern no-till tractor implements allow farmers to sow seeds faster and cheaper than if they tilled their fields.
        • With no-till, the improved soil structure and moisture conserving residue cover makes more water available for crop production by improving infiltration and decreasing evaporation from the soil surface.
        • Improved soil structure and soil cover increase the soil’s ability to absorb and infiltrate water, which in turn reduces soil erosion and runoff and prevents pollution from entering nearby water sources.
      • Soil Mapping
        • Farmers typically focus their crop management decisions on a variety of factors: their historical awareness, their field experience, and soil sample studies.
        • Using precision agriculture to maximize agricultural output requires accurate, high-resolution soil details.
        • In current agricultural practice, this degree of information is generally not possible because of the expense of conventional soil sampling techniques.
        • Current sensor technology, however, provides an ability to create high-resolution soil maps that can be used to help farm decision making and crop management.
        • Topsoil mapping introduces a highly responsive sensor system focused on the normal absorption of gamma radiation from the soil, which allows possible quantitative analysis of the tillage layer’s physical and chemical soil properties.
        • This system is seen to be capable of generating the high-resolution maps needed for precision farming, and evidence is shown that it has already led to increases in yields in conjunction with precision farming techniques.
      • Soil Erosion Prediction Technology
        • Based on temperature, climate, topography, and land use- soil erosion prediction techniques are statistical procedures that forecast levels of erosion and sediment distribution and sediment characteristics for particular locations.
        • Such systems differ according to the basic principles upon which the procedures are based, the mechanisms and results described by the methods, the governing equations, the mathematical form relating the equations, and the variables on which computations are made.
        • Estimated values for the same variable can vary significantly between soil erosion models.
        • Soil erosion prediction technology may be categorized as either lumped process-based or fundamental process-based under one of two broad groups.
        • The underlying mathematical framework usually reflects vital effects in the lumped process-based models, with a collection of empirically constructed indices and parameter values.
        • The aim is not to describe processes of erosion but to describe the critical effects of the variables that impact processes of decay.
        • Specific erosion processes are defined explicitly in the fundamental process-based model, and the effects of variables on soil erosion are explained by how those variables influence the basic processes depicted in the model.
        • Both models of erosion, whatever their underlying form, need empirical evidence.
        • When such models are to be used in environmental planning, even the most technically sophisticated models require empirical evidence to establish values for parameters such as soil credibility.
        • The criteria for models of erosion differ according to the model’s intended intent.
        • The criteria for a model used in a research erosion analysis vary significantly

      from those for a model used by field staff in daily environmental planning.

      • Erosion Assessment Engineering criteria for Environmental Management
        • Relevance:
          • Must refer to the mechanisms of erosion under review in the planning phase. That is, for calculating gully erosion, a model designed to quantify sheet and rill erosion usually can not be used.
        • Consistent, reliable findings:
          • Must use parameters in which the same or different users select compatible input values for the same or identical situations.
          • While land users will not be able to determine absolute values from projections of soil erosion, they can accurately evaluate the accuracy of estimated values.
          • Inconsistent findings significantly reduce a model’s credibility.
        • Wide spectrum of technologies covered:
          • Users generally support a common model that extends to all cases where erosion is a problem in their preparation practices for the restoration.
          • Having independent models poses issues in cases where the models intersect since the test outcomes are always inconsistent.
        • Accessibilty:
          • The tools required, such as computers, as well as the skills and time required to use the software and input the data, needs to be attainable.
          • If the money required to use a model outweigh the expected importance of the model’s performance, the conservation manager should avoid using a given model.
        • Validity:
          • Model must be accurate.
      • Modeling Soil Erosion: Development of USLE
        • The estimation of soil erosion has been a problem for scientists since the 1930s.
        • An analytical method was formulated in approximately1933 to predict soil erosion, involving parameters such as soil dispersion, infiltration rate, soil permeability, and particle size.
        • The main predecessor of the universal equation of soil depletion is USLE, a concept suggested in 1947 by Musgrave.
        • He established a parametric model that related erosion to soil vegetation cover, slope gradient, duration of a slope, and maximum intensity of 30 minutes.
        • It was this calculation that Wischmeier and Smith updated in 1958, which continued to be known as USLE.
        • The USLE has been commonly used, and since its creation, many enhancements and improvements have been developed.
        • The USLE was established as an equation of regression to forecast cropland soil erosion on a hill-side.
        • This had been updated to forecast soil degradation in certain circumstances throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
        • The updated universal soil loss equation (MUSLE) was established to estimate single-storm erosion, river sediment yield, erosion and sediment yield from rangelands, woodland soil erosion, and flatlands.Team Leader: Luis MonzonMembers: Milan Lad, Avery Wu, Diana Jundi, Luis Monzon, Jay Seol
          Sources:
          • Books
            • Sudo, Shigeo. “Visual and Environmental Concerns for the Higashi Fujigoko

          Highway in Japan.” Parkways, Greenways, Riverways: A Partnership for Beauty and Progress, by International Linear Parks Conference, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, 1991, pp. 84–90. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xp3n9z.12. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

          • Martin, Philip A., et al. “SHRUBLAND AND HEATHLAND

          CONSERVATION.” What Works in Conservation: 2018, edited by Rebecca K. Smith et al., 1st ed., vol. 3, Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK, 2018, pp. 447–494. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv4ncnwf.11. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

          • Scherr, Sara J. Soil degradation: a threat to developing-country food security by

          2020?. Vol. 27. Intl Food Policy Res Inst, 1999.

          • Non-Books
            • Bahram, M., Hildebrand, F., Forslund, S.K. et al. Structure and function of the

          global topsoil microbiome. Nature 560, 233–237 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0386-6

          • Abdul-Kareem, A.W., McRae, S.G. The effects on topsoil of long-term storage in

          stockpiles. Plant Soil 76, 357–363 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02205593

          • Fang X-M, Chen F-S, Wan S-Z, Yang Q-P, Shi J-M (2015) Topsoil and Deep Soil

          Organic Carbon Concentration and Stability Vary with Aggregate Size and Vegetation Type in Subtropical China. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0139380. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0139380

          • Foster, G. R. (2001). Keynote: soil erosion prediction technology for conservation

          planning. Sustaining Global Farm, 847-851

          • Lal, R. A. T. T. A. N. (2001). Soil degradation by erosion. Land degradation &

          development, 12(6), 519-539.

          • Montgomery, David R. “Soil Erosion and Agricultural Sustainability.” PNAS,

          National Academy of Sciences, 14 Aug. 2007, www.pnas.org/content/104/33/13268.

          • B. A. Pinchak, et al. “Topsoil and Mulch Effects on Plant Species and Community

          Responses of Revegetated Mined Land.” Journal of Range Management, vol. 38, no. 3, 1985, pp. 262–265. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3898981. Accessed 26 Jan. 2020.

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          OutlineHistory

          • Topsoil is classified as the first 5-10 inches of upper most layer of dirt that covers the planet
          • It is a robust ecosystem that contains millions of microorganisms and many minerals that are needed to sustain all forms of plant life
          • As civilization grows, or drastic changes to the environment occur, often time this top layer of soil is washed away or overfarmed
          • This results in soil erosion which can be talked in geographical or compositional terms
            • Geographical: The top layer of soil is washed away and relocated in lakes or rivers
            • Compositional: Top layer of soil lacks organic matter, minerals, nitrogen
          • The cause that we will focus on is agriculture
          • Topsoil that was created over millions of years of decomposing is being harmed and nearly destroyed within a few centuries

          Current State

          • Currently much of the world has adopted monoculture farming to meet the needs of humans around the worlds
          • Monoculture farming now occupies approximately half of the habitable land on the planet
            • It provides approximately 90 percent of the food we eat, directly or indirectly.
              • All of our fruits and vegetables, as well as feed for animals such as grain, soy, and corn
          • In most continents, over 70% of the land has been degraded past the point of where the soil can no longer repair itself
            • This is due to poor crop rotation
            • An example is corn and coffee. These crops are grown in the same plot of land year after year. The nutrients in the soil are depleted, which brings the need to use industrial grade fertilizers and pesticides to keep growing crops on the land.
          • This degradation causes plants to need additional nutrition which comes from industrial fertilizers and pesticides.
            • Fertilizers shown to increase pathogens, which then results in more pesticides, insecticides, and bactericides being used
          • Other farming methods such as tilling compact the soil or loosen it up causing it to be blown away or not absorb water as efficiently.
            • Most farming land is stripped of other crops, grass, and vegetation that covers the top soil. This prevents the top soil from retaining moisture and causes it to dry out. This means that it becomes much easier to blow away with the wind.
            • Also more susceptible to water run off by rain

          Importance of Topsoil

          • The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the most important components of our food system
            • Topsoil is rich in organic matter, contains a huge diversity of life and contains all the nutrients that plants need to survive.
          • In 1950, 0.5 Hectares of arable land were globally available per person. In the year 2000, this area has decreased to 0.25 hectares per person and due to the increase of the world’s population, it is estimated that, by 2050, this area will decline to only 0.15 hectares per person
          • Organic matter positively influences, or modifies the effect of, essentially all soil properties
            • A study of soils in Michigan demonstrated potential crop-yield increases of about 12% for every 1% organic matte
          • Much of the planet’s biodiversity resides in the soil: it’s estimated that an acre of soil may contain 900 pounds of earthworms, 2400 pounds of fungi, 1500 pounds of bacteria, 133 pounds of protozoa, 890 pounds of arthropods and algae, and even sometimes small mammals
          • One gram of soil may hold one billion bacteria, of which only 5 percent have been discovered

          Future

          • By 2050, crop yields are estimated to drop by 10%, the equivalent of not having millions of hectares used for farming
          • Others estimate that we only have 60 years of topsoil left
          • Losing topsoil means reduced food production, which can cause starvation to ensue. Some countries like Mongolia, North Korea, and Haiti are already experiencing some of the repercussions
          • Mongolia used to grow wheat, but now resorts to importing 20% of the wheat that they use
            • Their wheat fields have been abandoned

          How IT has affected topsoil

          • Good
            • Databases and accurate soil quality tracking has lead to the creation of databases which can be used to create management strategies on soil manipulation to protect soil
            • Soil erosion models added to geographic information systems can help use monitor movement of soil from farms or other areas affected by natural causes
            • There is no technology that I’ve found that helps reduce topsoil erosion, but a collection of monitoring has allowed us to create methods to reduce the erosion of topsoil.
              • Crop rotation, conservation tillage, contour farming, strip farming, terrace farming, grass waterways, and diversion structures
          • Bad
            • Information systems used to monitor current farms have allowed us to farm much easier
            • Self driving tractors(compaction), synthetic fertilizers and pesticides(erosion) have all made it easier for us to grow food, but ruin our topsoil at the same time
          • Till Technology
            • Tillage of the soil has been used to prepare a seedbed, kill weeds, incorporate nutrients, and manage crop residues. The goal of the tillage system has been to provide a proper environment for seed germination and root growth for crop production
            • Throughout the years, tillage systems have changed as new technologies have become available and the costs of fuel and labor increased
            • Modern no-till tractor implements allow farmers to sow seeds faster and cheaper than if they tilled their fields.
            • With no-till, the improved soil structure and moisture conserving residue cover makes more water available for crop production by improving infiltration and decreasing evaporation from the soil surface.
            • Improved soil structure and soil cover increase the soil’s ability to absorb and infiltrate water, which in turn reduces soil erosion and runoff and prevents pollution from entering nearby water sources.
          • Soil Mapping
            • Farmers typically focus their crop management decisions on a variety of factors: their historical awareness, their field experience, and soil sample studies.
            • Using precision agriculture to maximize agricultural output requires accurate, high-resolution soil details.
            • In current agricultural practice, this degree of information is generally not possible because of the expense of conventional soil sampling techniques.
            • Current sensor technology, however, provides an ability to create high-resolution soil maps that can be used to help farm decision making and crop management.
            • Topsoil mapping introduces a highly responsive sensor system focused on the normal absorption of gamma radiation from the soil, which allows possible quantitative analysis of the tillage layer’s physical and chemical soil properties.
            • This system is seen to be capable of generating the high-resolution maps needed for precision farming, and evidence is shown that it has already led to increases in yields in conjunction with precision farming techniques.
          • Soil Erosion Prediction Technology
            • Based on temperature, climate, topography, and land use- soil erosion prediction techniques are statistical procedures that forecast levels of erosion and sediment distribution and sediment characteristics for particular locations.
            • Such systems differ according to the basic principles upon which the procedures are based, the mechanisms and results described by the methods, the governing equations, the mathematical form relating the equations, and the variables on which computations are made.
            • Estimated values for the same variable can vary significantly between soil erosion models.
            • Soil erosion prediction technology may be categorized as either lumped process-based or fundamental process-based under one of two broad groups.
            • The underlying mathematical framework usually reflects vital effects in the lumped process-based models, with a collection of empirically constructed indices and parameter values.
            • The aim is not to describe processes of erosion but to describe the critical effects of the variables that impact processes of decay.
            • Specific erosion processes are defined explicitly in the fundamental process-based model, and the effects of variables on soil erosion are explained by how those variables influence the basic processes depicted in the model.
            • Both models of erosion, whatever their underlying form, need empirical evidence.
            • When such models are to be used in environmental planning, even the most technically sophisticated models require empirical evidence to establish values for parameters such as soil credibility.
            • The criteria for models of erosion differ according to the model’s intended intent.
            • The criteria for a model used in a research erosion analysis vary significantly

          from those for a model used by field staff in daily environmental planning.

          • Erosion Assessment Engineering criteria for Environmental Management
            • Relevance:
              • Must refer to the mechanisms of erosion under review in the planning phase. That is, for calculating gully erosion, a model designed to quantify sheet and rill erosion usually can not be used.
            • Consistent, reliable findings:
              • Must use parameters in which the same or different users select compatible input values for the same or identical situations.
              • While land users will not be able to determine absolute values from projections of soil erosion, they can accurately evaluate the accuracy of estimated values.
              • Inconsistent findings significantly reduce a model’s credibility.
            • Wide spectrum of technologies covered:
              • Users generally support a common model that extends to all cases where erosion is a problem in their preparation practices for the restoration.
              • Having independent models poses issues in cases where the models intersect since the test outcomes are always inconsistent.
            • Accessibilty:
              • The tools required, such as computers, as well as the skills and time required to use the software and input the data, needs to be attainable.
              • If the money required to use a model outweigh the expected importance of the model’s performance, the conservation manager should avoid using a given model.
            • Validity:
              • Model must be accurate.
          • Modeling Soil Erosion: Development of USLE
            • The estimation of soil erosion has been a problem for scientists since the 1930s.
            • An analytical method was formulated in approximately1933 to predict soil erosion, involving parameters such as soil dispersion, infiltration rate, soil permeability, and particle size.
            • The main predecessor of the universal equation of soil depletion is USLE, a concept suggested in 1947 by Musgrave.
            • He established a parametric model that related erosion to soil vegetation cover, slope gradient, duration of a slope, and maximum intensity of 30 minutes.
            • It was this calculation that Wischmeier and Smith updated in 1958, which continued to be known as USLE.
            • The USLE has been commonly used, and since its creation, many enhancements and improvements have been developed.
            • The USLE was established as an equation of regression to forecast cropland soil erosion on a hill-side.
            • This had been updated to forecast soil degradation in certain circumstances throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
            • The updated universal soil loss equation (MUSLE) was established to estimate single-storm erosion, river sediment yield, erosion and sediment yield from rangelands, woodland soil erosion, and flatlands.