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Soil Erosion in the Tropics

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Because of important differences between humid tropical soils and those of temperate regions, the necessary differences in their management are not at once apparent to the soil scientist whose training and experience have been obtained exclusively in the temperate zones. In spite of the importance of lowland rice, too often a soil scientist from the temperate Occident passes over the question of lowland rice soils with little more than the mere remark that such soils are waterlogged, the presumption being that because these soil are exceptional from the standpoint of normal temperate zone agriculture, they are hardly worthy of further consideration. The differences of soil science background and training make it difficult for the tropical soil scientist, when writing about soil conditions in the tropics, to make the subject clear to those who have not had the good fortune to gain first-hand knowledge of tropical soils. Even so it may be worthwhile briefly to describe and contrast certain soil conditions and phenomena in several tropical countries; the Philippines, Siam, China, and India. These last two countries are not properly tropical, but it has been my good fortune to have studied soil and agricultural conditions in certain portions of these countries, and it is hoped that the following remarks will be of interest. Attention is called to certain of the scattered papers, particularly in less well-known publications, which refer more or less directly to soil erosion and to the methods of reforestation particularly suited to the humid-tropics. Certain general observations, which have not previously been published, have also been included. In several of these countries, in British India particularly, a large and continually increasing amount of excellent detailed soil research is being done. But there are still lacking sufficient adequate descriptions of soils and soil conditions as a whole to give a satisfactory general picture of the soil and agriculture of the entire region.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Advisor to the Government of Siam

Publication date: 1940-10-01

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