Soil Erosion and The Erosion of Civilizations

Soil Erosion and The Erosion of Civilizations

Length: 310 words (0.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Soil erosion began with the dawn of agriculture, when people abandoned their hunter-gatherer lifestyles and began using the land for intensive agriculture, thus removing the protective vegetation cover and growing food crops on disturbed soil surfaces. For many civilizations, it is believed that surface wash erosion, that can occur unnoticed until it is too late, was a main contributing factor for their demise. Soil erosion and other degradative processes have destroyed, over the millennia, as much arable land as is now cultivated.

The Phoenicians, the Roman Empire, Mesopotamia, and ancient peoples of present-day Syria and Lebanon are all believed to have collapsed as a result of deforestation, erosion, and salination in the Middle East. In the Indus valley civilizations have suffered the same fate.

The collapse of a 1700-year-old Mayan civilization in Guatemala around 900 A.D. is also attributed to accelerated soil erosion. Mollisols developed on limestone bedrock were easily eroded when the forest was cleared. As the population increased, soil depletion set in and the Maya culture rapidly declined.

Soils of south and Central America supported thriving civilization long before the European settlers discovered the “new world”. Incas conserved soil and water by constructing stone-walled bench terraces such as those at Machu Picchu, Peru. The thin topsoil was rapidly washed away, however, once maintenance of the terrace system was neglected.

Much of Latin America’s export-oriented economy was imposed by violence at the time of conquest.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Soil Erosion and The Erosion of Civilizations." 16 Feb 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Influence of Water Accessability on Ancient Civilizations Essay

- Water is one of the most important elements needed to sustain life. Some ancient civilizations struggled to maintain a steady supply of usable water, while others gained consistent access, and those that did, thrived. Nonetheless, these civilizations, whether they failed or succeeded, depended on water to drink and irritate their crops; without it, they suffered food shortages and famine. Ancient civilizations such as China, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Rome were among those whose advancement benefited from the successful cultivation of water....   [tags: usable, floods, economies]

Research Papers
644 words (1.8 pages)

Global Issues within the First Civilizations Essay examples

- The First Civilizations of the world were the stepping-stone into modern society, and the original basis as to what our modern society has become. Reading through the assigned text in Ways of the World: A Brief Global History by Robert W. Strayer, in the chapter titled “First Civilizations: Cities, States, and Unequal Societies”, the reader is introduced into what evolved into the world in which we currently live in. (Please note that the writer will be referring to text from Strayer’s 2011 edition of the text, in comparison to the modern version.) The entire chapter discusses the way that the civilizations emerged, as well as how equality was eventually diminished from the society, Mesoamer...   [tags: modern society, robert w. strayer]

Research Papers
981 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Soil Erosion and Conservation

- What is Soil Erosion. Erosion can be defined as the removal of soil particles by the motion of wind or water. Soil erosion is considered to be one of the major concerns of agriculture throughout the world today. The misuse of land, mismanagement of farm land, felling of trees, overgrazing, poor soil and water management are all practices that contribute to soil erosion. Erosion can cause a decline in soil fertility, water supply, and crop yields. Thus it affects the productivity of the land and decreases the production of food, feed, fiber, and fuel ("Soil erosion- causes," 1987)....   [tags: Erosion, Soil Particles, Wind, Water]

Research Papers
1258 words (3.6 pages)

What Causes Soil Erosion? Essay

- Humans Screw Up Food Production: An Essay about farmers that Cause Soil Erosion Soil erosion is one of the most serious threats in our world. Humans cause 40% of soil erosion. Soil erosion is topsoil, which is organic soil made up with rich nutrients. Erosion can be caused by careless farming techniques that lead to water erosion. When it is raining and you are walking to class you can see soil erosion where they have been working besides the English building. Soil erosion and water erosion is practically the same thing....   [tags: Soil, Agriculture, Erosion, Surface runoff]

Research Papers
1343 words (3.8 pages)

From Mesopotamia to the Nile Valley: Soil Degradation and Desertification

- From Mesopotamia to the Nile Valley: Soil Degradation and Desertification Desertification has many definitions, encompassing both the physical and social consequences of the transformation of land into desert-like conditions. In all cases, the impacts of human activity are indelibly linked to desertification. In 1977, the United Nations Conference on Desertification proposed a definition: "Desertification is the diminution or destruction of the biological potential of the land, and can lead ultimately to desert-like conditions....   [tags: Environment Nature Essays]

Research Papers
1703 words (4.9 pages)

The Effects Of Soil Degradation On Nigeria Essay

- Effects of Soil Degradation in Nigeria There are problems Nigerians are facing when it comes to soil degradation. The country is striving to come out from this problem, but the lack of education at an increase mong its working class and farmers have not allowed it to fight a good fight against soil degradation. Today, many lands are no longer useful for agriculture or pastoral activities. This also affects the revenue the government generates from exportation of cash crops and animals. This growing soil degradation also affects industrialised farmers....   [tags: Agriculture, Soil, Nigeria, Erosion]

Research Papers
957 words (2.7 pages)

Ecosystem Services: Deforestation and Soil Erosion Essay

- According to Mooney and Ehrlich (1997), the idea that human beings depend on natural systems traces back as far as Plato. Plato (c. 400 BC) realised that deforestation could lead to soil erosion and the drying of springs (Daily 2007; Gómez-Baggethun et al., 2009). The first modern publication that addresses this concept is in the book Man and Nature written by George Perkins Marsh dated 1864. Marsh started to realize that the world’s resources were not infinite and that natural systems are important to water, soil, climate, the disposal of waste and pest control....   [tags: environmental science, fresh water]

Research Papers
1705 words (4.9 pages)

Soil and Water Interactions Essay

- Soil is composed of minerals, soil organic material (SOM), water, and air, according to the Montana State University’s soil scientists, Ann McCauley. The actual composition of these various components within soil has a big influence on the porosity; i.e., the composition affects the movement of water into and through the soil (McCauley, 2005), and the movement of water into and through soil is absolutely necessary for productive crops, and healthy ecosystems. The binding together of soil particles is called “aggregation” and when water passed into the soil aggregation, if it is healthy, will keep the porosity and water movement slow and productive, which “improves fertility and carbon seques...   [tags: Soil Science, Soil, Plants]

Research Papers
640 words (1.8 pages)

Soil and Topography Studies Essay

- Introduction. I strongly agree with Sommer & Schlichting, 1997 quote “Studying soils along a slope is one of the simplest, yet most elegant ways to discern spatial interrelationships between soil and topography”. Various factors are responsible for the difference in soil characteristics and pattern along a slope. The aim of this assignment is to demonstrate the credibility of this statement by providing relevant information about the different processes along topography that affects the soil and thus enable readers to value the statement....   [tags: Spatial Interrelationships, Slope, Soil]

Research Papers
1547 words (4.4 pages)

How Soil Is Soil? Essay

- What is soil. “Soil is a complex mixture of eroded rock, mineral nutrients, decaying organic matter, water, air, and billions of living organisms, most of them microscopic decomposers.” (Miller and Spoolman, 211). As stated, soil is made when a mixture of items such as eroded rock and mineral nutrients come together. Soil is used in a plethora of ways. Soil is where many of the nutrients plants need to grow comes from, soil purifies water, and even absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to be stored as carbon compounds (Miller and Spoolman, 211)....   [tags: Soil, Water, PH, Mass]

Research Papers
1418 words (4.1 pages)

Related Searches

Within a few years the ruling classes of Indians had been all but eliminated and the colonial society emerged. The settlers began to establish large plantation estates where sugar, indigo, cacao, and cochineal were grown.

The turn of the century saw the first foreign companies, like the United Fruit Company, investing in agriculture in Latin America. The pattern of large agri-business domination has continued ever since.
Return to