Description - Soil Degradation and Restoration in Africa by Lal Rattan

Soil degradation is a widespread problem in Africa resulting in decreased agricultural productivity while demand for food continues to increase. Degradation is caused by accelerated erosion, acidification, contamination, depletion of soil organic matter and plant nutrients, and salinization. The major cause of soil degradation in Africa is uncontrolled and excessive grazing in the savanna regions followed by deforestation and the use of inappropriate and extractive farming practices.

Perpetual neglect of the health of soils in Africa can exacerbate the already serious problems of food and nutritional insecurity and environmental degradation. Food and nutritional security of the growing population of Africa can only be achieved if degraded soils are restored and soils of agroecosystems are managed prudently and sustainably. Ignoring soils and taking the fragile, finite and precious soil resources for granted is the principal cause of poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation. The downward spiral must be reversed through soil restoration measures based on translating science into action.

This book describes the soils of Africa, processes of soil degradation, extent and severity of soil degradation, and the impacts of degradation processes on food and nutritional security.


  • Explores the extent and severity of soil degradation in Africa
  • Analyzes the cause-effect relationship between anthropogenic activities and soil degradation
  • Reviews processes of soil degradation in Africa including erosion, salinization, nutrient depletion, and decline of soil organic matter
  • Addresses the effect of climate change on soil degradation in Africa.
  • Explains how soil degradation causes food and nutritional insecurity

Part of the Advances in Soil Sciences series, this volume is specifically devoted to the processes and factors that cause soil degradation and the challenges and potential for remediation and restoration of soil health in Africa.

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