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The Top 5 Threats to Soil Health in the USA – Details to Know 

Soil is a living entity that is brimming with life. When you can ensure that the soil is healthy, wealthy, and functional, you can rest assured that there will be healthier plants, better and more efficient use of nutrients, and higher crop yields. When soil health in the USA is poor, you need to better manage inputs to prevent the loss of crop yield and quality. With the increase in population, there is a growing need to meet the global food demand. Here are the top 5 threats to soil health in the USA.

Top 5 Threats to Soil Health in the USA:

1. Soil Erosion:

Soil erosion is the most crucial threat because it takes place almost everywhere. According to the UN, soil erosion will reduce 10% of the global crop yields by 2050. In simple terms, soil erosion is the loss of valuable topsoil through water, tillage, wind, or any other means. Topsoil is the layer of the soil that contains most of the organic matter and is highly fertile. It supports plant growth. This, in turn, offers the habitat and food for all the other organisms. When the topsoil gets eroded, the soil is less fertile and cannot support the plant growth. This can lead to the decline of the ecosystems and reduced agricultural productivity.

2. Soil Organic Carbon Loss:

Soil organic carbon loss is the reduced amount of organic carbon within the soil. Organic carbon is a crucial element of the soil that contributes to soil fertility, overall health of the soil, and water-holding capacity. Soil organic carbon is obtained from plant and animal residues decomposed by different soil organisms into organic matter. Soil organic carbon is reduced for different reasons. These include:

  • Agricultural practices –

Tillage, monoculture cropping, and using synthetic fertilizers that can reduce the soil organic carbon levels by reducing the soil food web and the input of the organic matter.

  • Land use change –

Converting natural ecosystems like wetlands and forests into agricultural or urban use results in a significant loss of soil organic carbon.

  • Climate change –

Changes in precipitation and temperature patterns, along with increased frequency of weather events, impact the rate of organic matter decomposition and soil organic carbon levels.

soil health in the USA

Loss of soil organic carbon has a negative impact on soil health. These include:

  • Less Soil Fertility –

soil organic carbon is crucial component of soil fertility, offering essential nutrients for the plant growth.

  • Reduced Water Holding Capacity –

Soil organic carbon increases water holding capacity. It is important for plant growth.

  • Higher Greenhouse Gas Emissions –

Soil organic carbon is a huge pool of carbon. Loss of soil organic carbon will result in the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases within the atmosphere, ensuring climate change.

3. Soil Nutrient Imbalance:

Soil nutrients play a crucial role in soil health in the USA. Nutrient imbalance is the unequal distribution of the essential nutrients within the soil that can impact the plant growth and the overall soil health. Crucial plant nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium are required in different proportions for supporting the healthy plant growth. When the nutrients are not in balance, it leads to different issues. These include:

  • Lesser plant growth –

The imbalance of essential nutrients will limit plant growth because the plant is unable to consume the necessary nutrients from the soil.

  • Soil acidification –

The imbalance of essential nutrients will also result in soil acidification. This reduces the availability of essential plant nutrients and reduces soil fertility.

  • Changes in the soil biota –

The imbalance of crucial nutrients will also affect the composition of soil biota. These include microorganisms and insects that can disrupt the delicate balance of the soil food web and reduce soil health.

  • Altered soil chemistry –

The imbalance of essential nutrients can alter the soil chemistry, reducing the presence of crucial plant nutrients and hampering soil health in the USA.

4. Soil Salinization:

Soil salinization is the process to make the soil increasingly salty. This leads to a reduction in soil fertility and productivity. It takes place when salts in soil accumulate to such levels that are toxic to the plants. This is what alters the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil. The effects of soil salinization include:

  • Reduced plant growth
  • Altered soil structure
  • Lesser soil fertility
  • Altered soil biota

5. Soil Contamination:

Soil contamination introduces harmful elements to the soil that harm plants, humans, and animals. Soil contamination impacts soil health in the USA in the following ways:

  • Lesser plant growth
  • Toxicity to animals
  • Health risks to humans
  • Lesser biodiversity

In Conclusion:

Soil is the primary source of sustenance for life on earth. It is imperative to maintain soil health in the USA. When it comes to ensuring soil health, you have to be aware of the existing threats that affect soil health. Visit - for accurate soil analysis and information to help you make the most of your soil.