What is Our Least Valued But Most Essential Natural Resource?

"In some regions farming without regard to soil conservation rapidly leads to soil loss," writes David Montgomery in his book, Dirt. "Other regions have quite a supply of fresh dirt to plow through. Few places produce soil fast enough to sustain industrial agriculture over human time scales, let alone over geologic time. Considered globally, we are slowly running out of dirt.

"Should we be shocked that we are skinning our planet? Perhaps, but the evidence is everywhere. We see it in brown streams bleeding off construction sites and in sediment-choked rivers downstream from clear-cut forests. We see it where farmers' tractors detour around gullies, where mountain bikes jump deep ruts carved into dirt roads, and where new suburbs and strip malls pave fertile valleys. The problem is no secret. Soil is our most underappreciated, least valued, and yet essential natural resource."

Read more: Does Dirt Need Saving?

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