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The recent increase in soil erosion in Britain is the result of continued intensification of farming and a major land-use change from spring-planted to autumn-planted cereals. Field studies of erosion and computer models are the basis of this attempt to predict changes of rates under future climate conditions. Increases in winter rainfall, summer storm frequency, the area of irrigated land, and the introduction of new erosion-susceptible crops such as maize, will increase erosion rates. Off-farm impacts of flooding and pollution will continue to pose a greater threat, at least in the short term, than soil loss or yield reduction as a result of soil thinning. We require more detailed information on future climate, land-use change and economic conditions to make prediction of erosion rates less speculative.
The Geographical Journal © 1993 The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)