The consequences of soil degradation in China: a review

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Abstract

More than 40% of China’s arable land is degraded. This paper reviews the direct and indirect consequences of soil degradation in China. Soil degradation has observable and measurable impacts, which include soil nutrient loss, salinization, acidification, and desertification. It also has a number of indirect consequences, in particular, a reduction of the agricultural output due to a drop in soil nutrient; an increase in the frequency and magnitude of floods and landslides; a decline in livestock production due to a decrease in grass density available to roaming livestock; an intensification of dust storms and sandstorms which affects health, the productivity of the land, and visibility; and a faster accumulation of silt in dams, which damages their structure, reduces their water storage capacity, and compromises their original functions, in particular their electricity generation capacity.

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