SOIL: An Historical Perspective

This essay attempts to illustrate that the decline of past civilizations was not due to an unfortunate adjustment of fate; but rather, occurred as a result of a gradual misuse of natural resources -- in particular soil -- which in course of time, resulted in bringing many “powerful” societies to their knees.

It is necessary to state that man, not knowing his true identity, or perhaps better put, his place in nature, is motivated by greed and envy in an attempt to dominate the creatures and resources within his purview.Though in possession of a higher intellect, this intellect is filtered through selfish desire resulting in an historical disintegration of civilizations.

Vernon Carter points out that “civilized man was nearly always able to become master of his environment temporarily. His chief troubles came from his delusions that his temporary mastership was permanent. He thought of himself as ‘master of the world’ while failing to understand fully the laws of nature.”[i]In his rush to exploit the bounty of nature, he transgressed these natural laws and found his society unsustainable.

In most cultures the basis of a civilization’s alteration of nature was reciprocal to the development of its technology. This can even be observed with simpler societies of hunters and gatherers, pastoral nomads, or shifting cultivators. By no means were these societies strictly living off of the bounty of nature, as they changed their environment, in one example, through the use of fire to improve grasslands to better graze their herds.

 

[i] Vernon Carter, Topsoil and Civilization, p. 6.

In fact, the pastoral nomads “measured wealth/prestige in terms of numbers of livestock owned and thus were tempted to increase livestock holdings to the point that they threatened the stability of the production system. In many areas occupied by pastoral nomads, the carrying capacity of the pastures varied from year to year with climatic cycles.

Thus, there was serious environmental deterioration in many areas occupied”[1] by these groups. Likewise, the shifting cultivators changed the landscape with their “slash and burn” techniques. As population increased and land became scarce against competing land use, there was a decrease in fallow period which in the end resulted in a permanent changing of the biophysical environment.

In more complex societies, that is in the sedentary plough cultivators, man’s relationship with nature manifested according to his views towards the use of the land. In fact, the developmental hierarchy of the land depended solely on the value that man placed on the commodity being produced in that area.

The focus, or the center of the system, was simply the area where man himself lived; while the core, the area immediately surrounding the focus, was given the responsibility to produce higher value items or commodities which did not lend itself to transport. The periphery, in turn, was left to less important crops, and due to distance from the focus, as a rule, degenerated ecologically since it was given little attention to any management technique, as there was little economic incentive to do so.

As societies developed from small self-sufficient villages to a global colonial system, these designations of focus, core and periphery continually remained as an express of self-interest.

Nothing changed as far as man’s view of the land but, rather, his periphery and core expanded to contain whole countries or even continents from the simple control over local village lands. These instances of domination are directly commensurate with man’s evolving technological skill, which became analogous with man’s ability, in the short term, to dominate over nature.

It is important to understand that for a civilization to continue “it is an absolute essential under all conditions (to produce a surplus). The primary producers must produce a surplus. Without such a surplus there can be no cities….

The factors that determine the amount of surplus produced by the primary producers largely limit the status of any civilization. These factors are homely fundamentals: the fertility and extent of arable soil, the extent and reproductive success of forests, the quantity and quality of grasslands, the abundance of beneficial wildlife, fish and water life, the supply of usable water, the abundance of mineral fuels, metals, construction materials, and other deposits in the earth’s crust. These are the natural resources with which the primary producers work.

The quantity and quality of these resources largely determine the amount of surplus produced.”[2] It is this ability of producing a surplus that enables a civilization to grow, and conversely, it is civilization’s inability to produce a surplus that ushers in its demise. Here we find our first direct relation between the vitality of a civilization and its resources.

EGYPT

“The silt from the Blue Nile and humus largely from the jungle and swampy sources of the White Nile were laid on Egypt in a thin annual layer. The records show that in the first thousand years after Christ, about fifty inches of silt were deposited on the flood plain. That is an average of one-twentieth of an inch per year – not much, but enough. This thin skin of new soil was the secret of Egypt’s long and productive career. If a great amount of silt had been brought to Egypt, the irrigation canals would have become built so high that flooding would have frequently failed to occur, and the difficulty of irrigation would have kept hundreds of thousands of acres out of production. The thin silt deposit was ample to replace the minerals harvested in crops. Humus cannot accumulate in such a warm climate given the moisture of irrigation it decays rapidly, is converted into living crops, or is oxidized. Thus, an annual deposit of humus by the Nile was a near-perfect solution to the problem of supplying organic matter.

It was the superlative productivity and durability of the soil which made the first Egyptian civilization possible. Surplus food was siphoned off from the farmers through taxes, rents and trade. This surplus fed the slaves, artisans, scribes, priests, merchants, nobles and all who devoted time and energy to build the culture of the country.[3] In effect, the soil of the Nile not only supported the pyramids and the Sphynx; but all of Egyptian society as well.

It should be noted that is was not the extraordinary prowess of the Nile Valley farmer which allowed him to progress for such an extended period of time, though the Egyptians were well advanced in tillage and stock-raising. The predominating factor of the valley’s continued success in agriculture and as a civilization, was her good fortune of receiving ample mineral and organic residues with the annual floodwaters combined with the advantage that floodwaters flushed the land of previous salt residues. 

In Soil and Civilization, it is described that the quantity of silt passing down by the Nile during the 7000 years of Egyptian culture is equivalent to about three hundred times the total area of the whole European topsoil. It was for this reason that the Egyptian civilization has been able to maintain itself for more than the historic thirty to seventy generations that typified the lives of most other societies.

Politically, Egypt experienced many invasions such as the Hyksos nomads from Asia, the Libyans, the Ethiopians and the Assyrians, to name a few. In her glory days she ruled for five centuries most of Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. But the beginning of the end came when the conquering Assyrians “did not move their capital to the Nile Valley as had all previous conquerors. They exacted heavy tribute, in grain and other wealth, to support their government at Nineveh. This was the beginning of the end of progressive Egyptian civilization… From the time of the Persian conquest until the twentieth century, the Nile Valley had been ruled mainly by foreign races. The surplus products of the land have helped to develop or support, in turn, the cultures of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks, and British. From the lifestream of the green valley, each of the conquerors drew sustenance which first increased the strength of their empires and later prolonger their vigor during the years of decline.”[4]

So to reiterate, it was the presence of a foreign power, whose interest lay separate from Egypt, and who only wanted to siphon off the defeated country’s surplus, that was to mark the beginning of her decline. However, due to fate the continued silt deposition continued and Egypt has persisted in supporting a large population until present.

To conclude the discussion of the history of the Nile Valley, we arrive at today’s doorstep and report the building of the Aswan dam. Man’s wisdom in building the dam was to create a large reservoir of water which would enable year-round irrigation and production of two or more crops. Unfortunately, certain factors, such as the fertility importance of the silt plus the high evaporation rate in such a warm climate, which prevented the accumulation of water behind the dam, have been overlooked. This was further complicated by the silting of the dam which has diminished the lifespan considerably. “In other words, modern British and Egyptians have greatly increased production in the valley for two or three generations, but in doing so they have possibly started the ultimate destruction of this most durable home for civilized man. Production will almost certainly decline unless Egyptian farmers adopt a system of farming that will provide for a regular replenishment of the organic matter that the White Nile used to give to the low Nile Valley.”[5] “The soil of the Nile Valley is still fertile. It now feeds more people than ever before in history. But there is a grave doubt that this land will retain its fabulous productivity. Man has finally become civilized enough – he has acquired sufficient engineering skill and egotism – to start the destruction of this almost indestructible land.”[6] In fact, within the last century the Nile floodplain has developed severe salinity problems which is proving to be a grand problem for the current political leaders.

MESOPOTAMIA

The next point of focus is Mesopotamia, a region that occupies parts of modern day Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

As the White Nile supported Egypt, the sustenance of this of this civilization came from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Unlike Egypt though, these rivers carried uncommon amounts of silt which proved to be the greatest burden to continued irrigation and civilization. The cause of this heavy siltation lies in the Armenian highland plateau where forests were cleared to make way for domestic crop production. “Formerly this Armenian soil must have been forest, and even now rainfall is ample for the cultivation of such water-loving species as cotton, tobacco and the vine. The first two have been introduced in historical times, the one from India and other from America, but the antiquity of viticulture in this region is incalculably great: indeed, the first domestication of the vine may even have been due to primaeval Armenians.

The clearing operations of the early vineroons, wheat growers and barley growers, as well as shepherds and cattle ranchers, would certainly have distribute the water-cycle of the country, and given rise to floods of the Euphrates and the Tigris farm more torrential than would have been their case before forest clearance began.”[7]

As a result, the degree of the siltation problem changed the social structure of Mesopotamia. Contrary to the case in Egypt, where the Nile bestowed her gifts indiscriminately and demanded only that the farmers plant their seeds in the newly deposited mud, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers delivered their bounty to only those who worked for it.

The development of irrigation canals was only the beginning since constant cleaning was needed to prevent the channels from choking up due to the high silt content in the water. As one group banded together to maintain the irrigation system the seeds of statehood germinated with the result of permanent city states. In fact, she was able to keep her irrigation canals open mainly with the use of slave labor (or when forced into slave labor herself).

Political stability was achieved with the Sumerians and Akkadians ruling for almost twenty centuries along with attaining success in maintaining the irrigation canals. It was under this influence out of which came letters, mathematics and astronomy. They were soon to be followed by the Elamites who were shortly replaced by the Amorites who built their capital at Babylon. It was here that “Hammurabi of Babylon (about the eighteenth-century B.C) left rather extensive records. These give us the first clear picture of Mesopotamia. Under Babylonian rule, the valley lands were irrigated more extensively than before. A vast network of waterways laced the flat valleys…. The fertile waters were controlled, and floods were routed by dames and man-made channels away from the cities and farms….This irrigation system was expanded until at least ten thousand square miles were in crops and around fifteen to twenty million people were eating the produce.”[8]

It was at this point that the same fate that degenerated the Egyptian culture, descended upon Mesopotamia. That was the invasion by the Assyrians, “a vicious, cruel and warlike people. Like most other conquerors, they found the resources of their homeland inadequate to support their growing populations, so the rich land of lower Mesopotamia was very inviting. Eventually they conquered and imposed their rule over all of the Near East….[9]

The Mesopotamians were “forced to support, between 1500 and 1600 B.C., in the Assyrian State, one of the most atrocious manifestation of militarist expansionism in all history. A career of warfare means, of course, a career of waste; waste of soil fertility, a war debt which is too rarely taken into account. If… the landscape is described by modern travelers was a scene of appalling and heartbreaking desolation, we owe that to the ambitious and cruel brutality (of) …a score of …warlords.[10]

This signaled the end of the brilliance of Mesopotamia. After the Assyrians came the Moguls, who not being an agricultural tribe, ruled and eventually destroyed many of the Mesopotamian cities and left the already silt-ridden canals to more neglect. With decreasing food production, the population gradually decreased and lost the vigor to maintain the arteries of their sustenance. As it stands today the same land supports less than one quarter of the population as during the reign of the Amorites four thousand years ago. Archaeologists have revealed, from studying ancient field records, that in “2400 B.C. an average yield was about 2437 liters of grain per hectare – respectable by current North American standards. By 2100 B.C. the yield had declined to 1460 liters per hectare, and by 1700 B.C. as political and cultural dominance shifted northward to Babylonia, yields in Sumer had fallen to 897 liters per hectare. Many of the Sumerian cities dwindled to villages or were left in ruins”[11] as a result of this 63 percent of the land capable of irrigation and yields are now among the lowest in the world.

 

WESTERN EUROPE

The next area on the agenda is Western Europe. As brevity is a consideration, the will be circa the 18th and 19th century, when colonialism was at its peak. This is an important period since it lays the foundation of the economic model that is in dominance today and which will be the subject of our attention later on in the essay.

It was with the Europeans and colonial expansion that the production systems stopped being contained to small areas and began to encompass larger segments of the planet. The saying that the sun never sets on the British empire adequately sums up the situation that the world found itself at this time.

By 1700, Europe had built an empire that was importing furs, fish, wheat, tobacco, indigo and rice from North America; they administer extensive plantations in the Caribbean area, received sugar and precious metals from South America, cotton and textiles from India while China supplied tea and silk. The process of economic control arose by “offering a profitable market for only a single commodity, through freight rate and focus import tax manipulations; by the manipulation of export taxes and the use of subsidies in a politically controlled colony; and by investment in the colonies in specific types of production.”[12]

This system, though economically beneficial for Europe and her expatriates, plundered the environment of her subjugate colonies. It encouraged monoculture and being forced by competition of the periphery countries producing the same commodity, both coupled with high transportation costs, found themselves with little left for maintenance of the land. The only land management technique available was to move to new land as the yields began to fall and profitability decrease.

“Essentially plantations were established in tropical and semi-tropical areas with abundant, if seasonal, rainfall. The annual row crops grown had high nutrient demands. And generally-speaking, a competitive world supply situation with relatively low prices for all plantation products discouraged the purchase of fertilizers. Soil depletion, then, was widespread; and this encouraged erosion by reducing the organic content of the soil. Moreover, the crops were sown in rows, normally running downslope; and the spaces between the rows were kept free of any kind of plant growth. The land, thus, was left very vulnerable to erosion during the characteristically heavy downpours of rain, as well as after the annual row crop was removed from the field.

Because of soil depletion and erosion, areas developed as plantations tended to experience a short period of high yields, followed by either the decline of yields to a marginally profitable level, or even land abandonment – the latter for producing a ‘hollow frontier’ effect.”[13]

These plantation areas were so seriously affected that the original vegetation, even after abandonment of the plantation, would never return. This same scenario saw itself repeated in North America with large tracts of deforestation. The lumber industry started off on the Eastern seaboard and with the help of improved transportation moved across North America westward.

Practicing clear-cutting and initially a total neglect to replanting, the areas quickly became eroded and often careless neglect caused fires with effectively destroyed the land. The result of this pursuit of profits was to bring the severe alteration and depletion of the biophysical environment to the point where the land will unlikely produce for future generations as it had done of the previous.

The effects of colonial power left many changes as well back at home. The agricultural areas which surrounded the large metropolitan centers found themselves with increasing soil fertility as a result of a slackened pressure off of the land since so much was now being imported from abroad. Also, the burgeoning urban centers, teeming with livestock, provided ample manure to replenish the fields. It was at this time that systematic crop rotations were introduced among other beneficial land management techniques allowing the core area to maintain or increase soil fertility. So, at home on the countryside, the effect of colonialism was producing beneficial effects, but simultaneously Europe, having become the industrial center of the world, was experiencing many adverse effects with the urban centers.

Urban expansion was driven by industrialization as a result of the founding of new markets around the world. As previously mentioned, through political, military and economic domination of colonies, England, for one, had often exclusive access to the large markets in these countries. Yes, at the same time, this industrialization resulted in urban expansion and diminishing living and social conditions at home.

The paving or tiling of the large cities created new drainage problems, increased runoff and flooding; increased industrialization brought water and air pollution along with overcrowding; large unsightly pits which had been provided construction materials developed on the city outskirts providing unsightly breeding grounds for disease. The industrialization process expanding along the canals and waterways since they provided water both for cooling and transport, contributed to urban sprawl. As a result the beauty of architectural masterpieces, standing in the European cities of Paris and London, increased as they became surrounded with he burgeoning urban blight of the evolving modern metropolis.

With the arrival of the Second World War, the European countries had to turn their energies inward and subsequently lost their designation as prominent world powers. It was at this time that the United States became undisputed leader of the world economy. American tactics to pull the world’s economic reigns were little different than the Europeans though their force was exerted through economic rather than with military persuasion (generally -speaking).

With this transition the economic system changed from a fractured global system run by various powers to an extensive interdependent international economic order where control is exercised by a corps of multinational corporations through the control of international marketing, technology and financing.

The inherent difficulty of this system is that it bases its rational upon ‘bottom-line’ logic and allocative efficiency. Economics is based on a translation of one’s satisfaction or utility from an activity or commodity to a dollar value as reflecting the value that you place on it over other items. However, as economics is unable to place a value on commodities such as the pleasure derived from a tree, mountain, fresh air or human life. In fact, the economist would criticize that the fixing of such values would be arbitrary and subjective and therefore have little effect within correct economic analysis. But this same inability to place a scientifically-derived value on such important social realities render him incapable of dealing with issues outside of strict economic paradigms.

This illustrates that economic or business logic exclusively falls radically short of being qualified to direct the running of society. Such a system of personally-motivated people orchestrating society is inadequate because the myopia of profitability robs one of the required intelligence to fulfill the role responsibly.

To translate this onto a practical level such “a narrow focus on aggregate GNP statistics and desirability of extending the modern economy into backward areas may result in a heavy premium on commercial agriculture. But normal economic costs of large plantations or ranches squeezing subsistence farmers onto marginal lands, whether in drought-prone Chad or on mountains slopes of Ecuador. Not only is the potential of these lands (perhaps for forestry, horticulture, grazing, tourism, or recreation) destroyed by intensive and improper cultivation, but huge costs in the form of floods, reservoir sedimentation and dust storms can also result, as can an unmeasurable spread of human suffering.

When lands are best suited for a valuable export crop, ideally they might be planted to it and the proceeds then be channeled back into economic activities that provide jobs and increasing income to the rural poor. Instead the peasants are all too frequently left with the worst of all worlds. The more productive lands are pre-empted by a few local or foreign investors and diverted to crops meant for sale abroad. The profits from this commercial agriculture wind up financing the luxurious lifestyle of the local landed gentry, being remitted abroad, or if effectively taxed by the national governments mainly being spent in the cities to support bloated bureaucracies, urban services, and industrial development.”[14]

“Seldom does the imagination translate abstractions into the events on the ground that give them meaning: farmers forced onto mountain slopes so steep that crops and topsoil wash away within a year; peasants making charcoal out of forests that are essential for restraining flood waters and soil erosion; drought-prone pastures plowed up for grain despite the high odds that a lifeless dust bowl will ensure. In some respects, these are Malthusian phenomena with a twist. Exponentially growing populations not only confront a fixed supply of arable land, but sometimes they also cause its quality to diminish. However a second addendum to Malthus; gloomy formulation is also crucial. Today the human species has the knowledge of past mistakes, and the analytical and technical skills, to halt destructive trends and to provide an adequate diet for all using land well-suited for agriculture. The mounting destruction of the earth’s life-supporting capacity is not the produce of a preordained, inescapable human predicament, nor does a reversal of the downward slide depend upon magical scientific breakthroughs. Political and economic factors, not scientific research, will determine whether or not the wisdom accumulating in our libraries will be put into practice.”[15]

On a large-scale basis, this knowledge is not being made full use of. A quick look at trouble spots around the world brings the harsh vision of a deteriorating situation. In Haiti, an island named in her indigenous language as ‘Green Island,’ less than 9% of her area remains wooded. An United Nations Development report reveals that “rapid increasing erosion is the country’s major problem. Partly held accountable are the major sugar plantations monopolizing the premium valley lands and forcing the peasant class onto the hillsides causing deforestation and erosion. In El Salvador, 48 percent of the land is owned by one percent of the farms while 47% of the farms exist with less than one hectare. One third of the cropland of Haiti is given to the production of coffee, cotton and sugar cane. Another Central American country, El Salvador, was previously coverd 90 percent by a deciduous tree cover which today has completely vanished and these dense mountain forests have been transformed into virtual moonscapes.

United States of America

“An astonishing 80 million hectares of U.S. croplands, an area almost twice the size of California, have been rendered unproductive, if not ruined outright. The nation has lost at least one-third of its best topsoil, and erosion rates are now worse than ever, as much as five billion tonnes per year.”[16] “Europe, the continent least affected by erosion, is estimated to be losing close to one billion tonnes a year, while Asia, the worst affected, could be losing around 25 billion tonnes.”[17]

So, we can see that, indeed, the modern techniques of agriculture are capable of producing short term needs, but the long-term infrastructure of proper biophysical management is lacking. Other examples in the U.S., of appalling disregard for the soil are mentioned in Building a Sustainable Society, as land planted to corn continually loses 19.7 tons of soil per year. In Iowa 260 million tons of soil is lost from cropland each year.

That soil cannot be replaced within our lifetime or the lifetime of our children. Tennessee is losing an average of 14.1 tons of topsoil per acre of cropland while Mississippi and Iowa come in at 10.9 and 9.9 tons respectively. On the Great Plains where wind erosion is very severe, 14. 9 tons in Texas and 8.9 in Colorado are lost.

Sheet and rill water erosion alone remove annually some two billion tons of topsoil from croplands, some 1.01 billion tons more than is formed each year which is representative of an effective loss of 781,000 acres of cropland per year. Urban expansion captures another one million acres each year.

It needs mentioning that neither acid rain, the ‘greenhouse effect,’ air land and water pollution nor desertification have been discussed. These are all problems that are interwoven with the above and stem from the same or similar causes. It seems tenable to deduce that if this society is to resist following the path of the Nile Valley or Mesopotamia, then it is mandatory that we begin to develop a fuller understanding of the relationship of man to nature.

 

As outlined previously, historically man has depleted resources within confined areas allowing the crown of power to pass to more bountiful areas. However, in today’s case, with international trade being the rule, our resources are being depleted throughout the globe leaving a situation where the grass is no longer greener on the other side of the fence.

Unfortunately, the history of ecological movements, now gaining widespread support, generally occur when larger groups of people have become aware of the inescapable consequences of mistreated land, and their sudden awareness that if present trends continue, they will not only lose their privileged status but perhaps existence itself.

Essentially, it is a a subtle expression of self-interest. The point is that peoples' concern about the environment, is really the flip side of a selfish fear of losing or decreasing their standard of living. Therefore, the real problem of greed continues to exist and will only re-manifest in another time or circumstance).

To illustrate: “...measured globally, there is enough food [produced] for everyone now. The world is producing each day two pounds of grain – more than 3000 calories and ample protein – for every man, women and child on earth. A third of this grain now goes to feed the livestock… Thus on a global scale, the idea that there is not enough food to go around simply does not bear up to scrutiny.”[18]

Presently, forty million people die each year as a result of hunger or hunger-related disease. Part of the reason for this scarcity is that some countries’ corporations are too powerful and are able to exploit the weaker sections of society (developing countries). This inflated standard of living is shown by the fact that if everyone in the world were to consume oil on an equal per capita basis as the United States, the world reserves would be depleted within thirty years. Such a future will push this culture to its limits as it has developed an addiction to 99 million barrels of oil daily.[19] This commodity, fueling both agriculture and industry, will cause great distress to food production and our inflated standard of living when we are forced to live with a cheap source of energy. Modern society is simply asking too much too quickly and, in effect is stealing from future generations. Today’s perks will be tomorrow’s wants.

To summarize, it seems that this society has little chance for any long-term existence at the present rates of consumption. It can be changed either by the use of intelligent foresight and thoughtful action, or by the environment and the laws of nature, as she refuses her bounty. There must be a reappraisal of values, both economic and social. Within the field of agriculture, we must begin by giving more preference to food value in agricultural production rather than to the present over-emphasis of cash value.

The ecological and social costs of production, in addition to the sole consideration of agricultural inputs, must be coupled with an holistic perspective. Such changes would just be the beginning since this reappraisal of attitudes will have to bear effect in many diverse fields in order to be tangible.

                                                       

No less of a change can be entertained if society is to achieve sustainability. 

Endnotes:

 

[1] Ibid., p. 5.

[2] Op. cit., p. 11.

[3] Ibid. p.29.

[4] Vernon Carter, p. 32.

[5] Ibid. p. 36.

[6] Ibid. p. 34.

[7] Edward Hyams, Soil and Civilization, p. 56.

[8] Op. cit., p. 44.

[9] Ibid. p. 45.

[10] Soil & Civilization, p. 58.

[11] Eckholm, Eric P., Losing Ground, Environmental Stress and World Food Prospects, p. 116

[12] K. Kelly, Man and Environment Lecture Outline, p. 23.

[13] Ibid. p. 32.

[14] Eckholm, Eric, Losing Ground, p. 171.

[15] Ibid., p. 19.

[16] Ibid.,

[17] Ibid., p. 40

[18] Lappe, Frances Moore and Collins, Joseph, Food First: Beyond Myth of Scarcity, p. 13.

[19] https://www.statista.com/statistics/271823/daily-global-crude-oil-demand-since-2006/

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Crosson, Pierre R., The Cropland Crisis, Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press, 1982.

Curwne, E. Cecil, and Hatt, Gudmund, Plough and Pasture, New York: Collier Books, 1961.

Eckholm, Eric P., Losing Ground, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1976.

Fussell, G. E., Farming Technique from Prehistoric to Modern Times, Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1974.

Gill, Vernon, and Dale, Tom, Topsoil and Civilization, University of Oklahoma Press, 1974.

Gudeman, Stephen, The Demise of a Rural Economy, From Subsistence to Capitalism in a Latin American Village,                               London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.

Heiser, Charles B. Jr., Seed to Civilization, San Francisco, W.H. Freeman, 1973.

Hyams, Edward, Soil and Civilization, London: Thames and Hudson, 1952.

Kelly, K., Man and Environment, Guelph, University of Guelph.

Lappe, Frances Moore and Collins, Joseph, Food First, Beyond the Myth of Scarcity, New York: Ballantine Books, 1979.

Meyers, Norman, GAIA An Atlas of Planet Management, Garden City: Anchor Press/Doubleday & Co. Inc., 1984.

Palmer, Asael E., When the Winds Came, Lethrbridge: Asael Palmer, 1968.

Author: Robert Cope

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