Publication Abstracts

Hillel 2005

Hillel, D., 2005: Civilization, role of soils. In Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment. D. Hillel, J.H. Hatfield, D.S. Powlson, C. Rosenzweig, K.M. Scow, M.J. Singer, and D.L. Sparks, Eds., vol. 1, Elsevier/Academic Press, pp. 199-204.

Manipulation and modification of the environment was a characteristic of many societies from their very inception. Long before the advent of earth-moving machines and toxic chemicals, even before the advent of agriculture, humans began to affect the land and its biota in ways that tended to destabilize natural ecosystems. In many of the ancient countries, where human exploitation of the land began early in history, we find disturbing examples of once-thriving regions reduced to desolation by human-induced degradation. Some of the early civilizations succeeded all too well at first, only to set the stage for their own eventual demise. The poor condition of the Fertile Crescent today is due not simply to changing climate or to the devastation caused by repeated wars, though both of these may well have had important effects. It is due in large part to the prolonged exploitation of this fragile environment by generations of forest cutters and burners, grazers, cultivators, and irrigators, all diligent and well-intentioned but destructive nonetheless.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Hillel, D.},
  editor={Hillel, D. and Hatfield, J. H. and Powlson, D. S. and Rosenzweig, C. and Scow, K. M. and Singer, M. J. and Sparks, D. L.},
  title={Civilization, role of soils},
  booktitle={Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment},
  publisher={Elsevier/Academic Press},
  address={Amsterdam et al.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - hi08000d
AU  - Hillel, D.
ED  - Hillel, D.
ED  - Hatfield, J. H.
ED  - Powlson, D. S.
ED  - Rosenzweig, C.
ED  - Scow, K. M.
ED  - Singer, M. J.
ED  - Sparks, D. L.
PY  - 2005
TI  - Civilization, role of soils
BT  - Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment
VL  - 1
SP  - 199
EP  - 204
PB  - Elsevier/Academic Press
CY  - Amsterdam et al.
ER  -

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