Did Dust Bowl’s ravages end in the 1940s? New study says no

This iconic photo taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and now in the public domain shows a farm in Dallas, S.D., on May 13, 1936, after a dust storm covered soil and equipment with a thick layer of dust. After decades of teaching students that the era ended with new farming techniques in the 1940s, a study led by the University of Tennessee and University of Illinois has shown that soil quality actually continued to decline until the 1980s and even now isn’t back to the level it was in the mid-1930s.

13 Nov 2015
News Source: Tennessee Today

A new study has shown that soil quality actually continued to decline until the 1980s and even now isn't back to pre-Dust Bowl levels.

Image: This iconic photo taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and now in the public domain shows a farm in Dallas, S.D., on May 13, 1936, after a dust storm covered soil and equipment with a thick layer of dust. After decades of teaching students that the era ended with new farming techniques in the 1940s, a study led by the University of Tennessee and University of Illinois has shown that soil quality actually continued to decline until the 1980s and even now isn’t back to the level it was in the mid-1930s. [Click image to enlarge]

A recent study could very well change the way we view the health of our nation’s soil, even potentially altering history books.


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People Involved

CZO
Non-CZO

Jerry Hatfield - USDA–Agricultural Research Service National Lab for Agriculture and Environment Director

Charles Stanier - Associate Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Iowa

Ken Wacha - Graduate Research Assistant, IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering


Publications

2015

From soilscapes to landscapes: A landscape-oriented approach to simulate soil organic carbon dynamics in intensively managed landscapes. Papanicolaou, A.N., K.M. Wacha, B.K. Abban, C.G. Wilson, J. Hatfield, C. Stanier, and T. Filley (2015): Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

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