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Erosion As a Menace to the Social and Economic Future of the Southwest

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This article by Leopold was the first statement by a member of the profession of forestry, so far as known, which called attention to the magnitude and seriousness of soil erosion in the restricted areas of fertile valleys in the arid Southwest upon the intensive use of which the agricultural economy of the region depends. The direct cause was indicated as overgrazing of the watersheds occurring since recent white domination. His suggested course of action emphasizes the need for public regulation of grazing in arid regions. Written 24 years ago and delivered as a public address but never published, the contents of this article stand as a landmark in the slow recognition of the fact that the upsetting of delicately adjusted natural forces in critical areas may lead to destruction of resources on a scale which makes later attempts at restoration practically hopeless.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. Fellow, S.A.F.; and Former Associate Editor, Journal of Forestry.

Publication date: 01 September 1946

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