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Soil Erosion and Sustainable Mountain Development

International Mountain Society
Publication Date
  • Agricultural Science
  • Ecology
  • Geography


Abstract Accelerated soil erosion is a common and environmentally destructive consequence of development, especially in mountain regions. Soil erosion is of special concern in agricultural lands, but agriculture is only one of many development activities that greatly accelerates soil erosion processes. Road building, trail use, excavation, extractive activities, and construction also can cause severe soil erosion. Soil conservation technologies are relatively simple and well known, but often they are not applied where they could be most effective because the connections between different elements of the landscape (eg, roads and cultivated fields) are not well understood. This paper reviews two previous soil erosion research projects in the Ecuadorian Andes involving field observations and small-plot rainfall simulation experiments and provides examples of erosion-related landscape connections at the drainage basin scale. In light of the important influence of roads, trails, and abandoned farmlands on soil erosion processes on Andean slopes, sustainable management of the soil resource requires both looking across and managing across conventionally delineated boundaries in the natural and altered landscapes of mountain regions.

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