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October 2021

Long-Term Effects of Organic and Conventional Farming on Soil Erosion

Author(s): Elliott, L., Unger, Y.

Journal/Book: Nature. 1987; 330: 370-372.

Abstract: Conventional, intensive tillage farming systems have greatly increased crop production and labour efficiency. But, serious questions are being raised about the energy-intensive nature of these systems and their adverse effects an soil productivity and environmental quality. This concern has led to an increasing interest in organic farming systems because they may reduce some of the negative effects of conventional agriculture an the environment. We compare the long-term effects (since 1948) of organic and conventional farming an selected properties of the same soil. The organically-farmed soil had significantly higher organic matter content, thicker topsoil depth, higher polysaccharide content, lower modulus of rupture and less soil erosion than the conventional farmed soil. This study indicates that, in the long term, the organic farming system was more effective than the conventional farming system in reducing soil erosion and, therefore, in maintaining soil productivity.

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