Published on Oct 24, 2016
Soil erosion is a global threat. Each year 75 billion tons of fertile soil is lost from world agricultural systems. The magnitude and rate of soil erosion can be determined through gamma spectrometry by comparing the content of caesium-137 (137Cs) in eroding or depositing sites with the 137Cs content at undisturbed stable areas known as reference sites. If the 137Cs content is lower than that of the reference site, soil has been lost to erosion; if it is higher soil has been deposited. In that way, the 137Cs method identifies areas with high erosion and sediment transfer, enables a better targeting of soil conservation measures to control and mitigate soil losses caused by erosion and helps reduce its environmental impact.