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Shifting Ground:The Changing Agricultural Soils of China and Indonesia

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2000
Author(s): Peter H. Lindert
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: Geoscience
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Abstract

In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends.

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      Front Matter

      Page(s): i - xii
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Half Title, Title, Copyright, Contents, Preface View full abstract»

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      Judging Soil Trends

      Page(s): 1
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»

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      Current Concerns

      Page(s): 3 - 18
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: What Soil Degradation Means, The Importance of Soil Chemistry, The Road Ahead View full abstract»

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      Previous Evidence

      Page(s): 19 - 44
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Surveys of Degraded Land Areas: The Still-Life as a Documentary Film, Guesswork on Erosion, Changes in Cultivated Area, Lessons from Experiments, Hints from Good Eclectic Histories, Summary Diagnosis View full abstract»

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      Beginning a New Soil History

      Page(s): 45 - 70
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Global Data from the Twenty-First Century, Mining the Twentieth-Century Record, Which Soil and Site Characteristics Are Covered, and Which Are Not?, A Statistical Strategy for Separating Time from Space, In Search of Errors View full abstract»

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      China

      Page(s): 71
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»

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      Soil Changes in China since the 1930s

      Page(s): 73 - 123
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Physical Background, The Resulting Equations, Soil Trends in North China, Soil Trends in South China, Interpreting the Trends in Soil Nutrients, Fertilizer versus Uptake, Summary View full abstract»

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      China's Soil-Agriculture Interactions

      Page(s): 125 - 138
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Simultaneous Feedbacks: The Conceptual Task, Designing a Simultaneous System to Fit China in the 1980s, The Determinants of Agricultural Yields, Feedbacks from Agriculture to the Soil View full abstract»

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      The Quality and Quantity of China's Cultivated Soils

      Page(s): 139 - 162
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Soil Quality since the 1930s: A First Guess, Cultivated Area, China's Net Soil Investment since the 1930s, Three Lingering Concerns, Desertification, Summary View full abstract»

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      Indonesia

      Page(s): 163
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      A Half Century of Soil Change in Indonesia

      Page(s): 165 - 205
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Preparing the Raw Materials, Revealing the Patterns Statistically, Soil Trends on Java, Soil Trends and the Settlement Process on the Outer Islands, Signs of Erosion?, The Geography of Indonesia's Soil Chemistry, Summary View full abstract»

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      Consequences for Indonesian Agriculture

      Page(s): 207 - 236
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Alternative Approaches, The Impact of Soils on Agricultural Productivity in 1990, Fertilizer as a Substitute for Soil Quality, Indonesia's Net Investment in Soils, 1940–1990 View full abstract»

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      Conclusions and Implications

      Page(s): 237
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      What Have We Done to the Land?

      Page(s): 239 - 252
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: On Trends in Soil Characteristics, On Their Causes, On Changes in Cultivated Land Area, Consequences, Postscript: Trends versus Potential in Soil Management View full abstract»

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      Appendix A: Full Soil History Regression Equations for China, 1930s–1980s

      Page(s): 253 - 280
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Appendix B: Soil Chemistry Averages by Province for China, 1981–1986

      Page(s): 281 - 284
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Appendix C: Fuller Simultaneous-Equation Estimates of China's Soil-Agriculture System in the 1980s

      Page(s): 285
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Appendix D: Full Regression Equation Estimates for the Determinants of Soil Chemistry in Indonesia, 1923–1990

      Page(s): 299 - 317
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Notes

      Page(s): 319 - 332
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9 View full abstract»

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      References

      Page(s): 333 - 343
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains section titled: I. General, II. Sources in Chinese, III. China—In English and Russian, IV. Indonesia View full abstract»

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      Index

      Page(s): 345 - 351
      Copyright Year: 2000

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In this book Peter Lindert evaluates environmental concerns about soil degradation in two very large countries--China and Indonesia--where anecdotal evidence has suggested serious problems. Lindert does what no scholar before him has done: using new archival data sets, he measures changes in soil productivity over long enough periods of time to reveal the influence of human activity.China and Indonesia are good test cases because of their geography and history. China has been at the center of global concerns about desertification and water erosion, which it may have accelerated with intense agriculture. Most of Indonesia¹s lands were created by volcanoes and erosion, and its rapid deforestation and shifting slash-burn agriculture have been singled out for international censure.Lindert's investigation suggests that human mismanagement is not on average worsening the soil quality in China and Indonesia. Human cultivation lowers soil nitrogen and organic matter, but has offsetting positive effects. Economic development and rising incomes may even lead to better soil. Beyond the importance of Lindert's immediate findings, this book opens a new area of study--quantitative soil history--and raises the standard for debating soil trends. View full abstract»