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(1) The Rape of the Earth (2) Land Utilization in Australia


(1) MESSRS. Jacks and Whyte have followed up the important bulletin on soil erosion which they prepared for the Imperial Bureaux of Agriculture at Rothamsted and Aberystwyth, by a more general survey of the subject in which they proceed from a description of erosion the world over to a discussion of its consequences—economic, social and political. In the earlier chapters they explain that erosion has been of long standing in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, in India and China, but has come into prominence of recent years since the spectacular destruction in North America, which directed attention to similar processes at work in Africa and Australia, even in New Zealand. Everywhere man has been the cause; reckless deforestation, which bared the hill slopes, turned the river valleys into swamps and choked the harbours; over-hasty agriculture, which left the soil without any binding power; over-grazing, which destroyed the natural protective cover. Yet neither forest exploitation nor agriculture need be destructive; the Old World offers many examples of how production may be maintained indefinitely without loss of fertility. But these lessons have been ignored wherever men have been allowed ‘to do what they like with their own’—their own in this case being the land; so that the vast expansion of population in the nineteenth century induced such a hurried exploitation of the land that the world's productive capacity has been permanently impaired.

(1) The Rape of the Earth

A World Survey of Soil Erosion. By G. V. Jacks and R. O. Whyte. Pp. 314+47 plates. (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1939.) 21s. net.

(2) Land Utilization in Australia

Issued by the Australian Institute of International Affairs under the auspices of the Institute of Pacific Relations. By Prof. S. M. Wadham and Prof. G. L. Wood. Pp. xix + 360. (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press; London: Oxford University Press, 1939.) 21s. net.

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H., A. (1) The Rape of the Earth (2) Land Utilization in Australia. Nature 144, 647–648 (1939).

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