Soil degradation is a widespread problem in Africa resulting in decreased agricultural productivity while demand for food continues to increase. Degradation is caused by accelerated erosion, acidification, contamination, depletion of soil organic matter and plant nutrients, and salinization. The major cause of soil degradation in Africa is uncontrolled and excessive grazing in the savanna regions followed by deforestation and the use of inappropriate and extractive farming practices.

Perpetual neglect of the health of soils in Africa can exacerbate the already serious problems of food and nutritional insecurity and environmental degradation. Food and nutritional security of the growing population of Africa can only be achieved if degraded soils are restored and soils of agroecosystems are managed prudently and sustainably. Ignoring soils and taking the fragile, finite and precious soil resources for granted is the principal cause of poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation. The downward spiral must be reversed through soil restoration measures based on translating science into action.

This book describes the soils of Africa, processes of soil degradation, extent and severity of soil degradation, and the impacts of degradation processes on food and nutritional security.


  • Explores the extent and severity of soil degradation in Africa
  • Analyzes the cause–effect relationship between anthropogenic activities and soil degradation
  • Reviews processes of soil degradation in Africa including erosion, salinization, nutrient depletion, and decline of soil organic matter
  • Addresses the effect of climate change on soil degradation in Africa.
  • Explains how soil degradation causes food and nutritional insecurity

Part of the Advances in Soil Sciences series, this volume is specifically devoted to the processes and factors that cause soil degradation and the challenges and potential for remediation and restoration of soil health in Africa.

chapter |24 pages

Soil Degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Challenges and Opportunities for Restoration
ByDavid A.N. Ussiri, Rattan Lal

chapter |15 pages

Soil Degradation with Reference to Nutrient Mining and Soil Fertility Decline in Sub-Saharan Africa

ByHamisi J. Tindwa, Ernest Semu, Hussein B. Shelukindo, Bal Ram Singh

chapter |23 pages

Making Sense Out of Soil Nutrient Mining and Depletion in Sub-Saharan Africa

ByGiregon Olupot, Twaha Ali Ateenyi Basamba, Peter Ebanyat, Patrick Musinguzi, Emmanuel Opolot, A. Katusabe Alice, Mateete A. Bekunda, Bal Ram Singh

chapter |18 pages

Soil Degradation in the Senegal Lower Valley

ByLaurent Barbiero, Claude Hammecker

chapter |23 pages

Within-Field Monitoring of Secondary Salinity in Irrigated Areas of South Africa

BySybrJacobus Muller, Adriaan van Niekerk

chapter |34 pages

Changes in Soil Organic Matter Content and Quality in South African Arable Land

ByChris C. Du Preez, Cornie W. van Huyssteen, Wulf Amelung

chapter |27 pages

Rangeland Management and Soil Quality in South Africa

ByE. Kotzé, Hennie A. Snyman, Chris C. Du Preez

chapter |25 pages

The Fertilizer Dilemma

ByAmit Roy

chapter |33 pages

Conservation Agriculture in Tanzania

ByPeter W. Mtakwa, Ndelilio N. Urio, Faith Milkah Wakonyo Muniale, Alpha P. Mtakwa, Rattan Lal, Bal Ram Singh

chapter |28 pages

The Storage of Organic Carbon in Dryland Soils of Africa

Constraints and Opportunities
ByBrahim Soudi, Rachid Bouabid, Mohamed Badraoui

chapter |17 pages

Degradation and Climate-Smart Options for Restoring the East African Soils

ByKennedy Were, Bal Ram Singh, George Ayaga

chapter |31 pages

Nitrogen Dynamics and Management in Rainfed Drylands

Issues and Challenges
ByRachid Bouabid, Brahim Soudi, Mohamed Badraoui

chapter |24 pages

The Nuclear Option

ByDarryl D. Siemer

chapter |6 pages

Love Songs to Loam

Motivating Youth to Make a Difference by Engaging Science and Religion
ByMarcia J. Bunge