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Soil Fertility

Over half of the world's population is underfed and malnourished. The food deficit around the globe is at a staggering rate. Grant MacEwan suggests an increase of productivity on existing lands that would improve the distribution of food. Policymakers must realize that good quality soil is already in short supply and, therefore, they must act quickly.

Much of Canada's land mass is unsuited for cultivation. Nearly half the nation's surface is forested while only 8 percent is occupied farmland. These figures will not change drastically in the future, and MacEwan estimates that Canada could require food imports down the road. Soil limitation is a considerable issue for all Canadians. Contrary to the popular belief decades ago, there is not an unlimited supply of quality land in this country. Soil management is fundamental to ensuring Canada safeguards its insufficient soil resources.

Undoubtedly, erosion has long been soil's fiercest enemy. Caused by either water or wind, erosion has had a long history of decimating agricultural practices worldwide. MacEwan urges prevention, for it is easier and cheaper than trying to restore a damaged field. However, prevention is often ignored because it is seen as costly, and only when the damaging marks are visible do people begin to take action.

MacEwan is a proponent of proper land use. Establishing a system that guarantees the wisest use of land for the individual and for society ensures quality soil use for the present and the predictable future. Proper land use management demonstrates responsibility and awareness. By making the right choices regarding land use people can continue to depend on the soil for their livelihood. Quality soil, particularly in Canada, is hard to come by and therefore needs to be treated with due care and effective management. Society can ill afford to abuse or waste precious soil.

Resources

MacEwan, Grant.  Entrusted To My Care. 1966; Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1986.


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