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August 20, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

SAVING OUR SOIL: Solutions for Sustaining Earth's Vital Resource by James Glanz (Johnson Books: $15.95; 182 pp., paperback original). According to Department of Agriculture estimates, 2 billion tons of topsoil are lost from U.S. croplands each year. Glanz argues that the use of the steel plow has irrevocably damaged much of the nation's arable land, especially in the Great Plains, and that no-till farming combined with careful crop rotation and other practices currently regarded as "alternative" in the United States can not only prevent soil loss, but also increase fertility and reduce the need for pesticides. This lively study disproves the cliche that an uninteresting subject is as dull as dirt.

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