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Science File | IN BRIEF

Most Fertile Soil in U.S. Is Covered by Cities

February 14, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

U.S. cities have been built on the most fertile soil in the country, lessening the contributions of these lands to the food web and human agriculture, according to a NASA study. Though cities account for just 3% of U.S. continental land area, the land they occupy could produce as much food as the 29% of land area now used for agriculture.

The loss of fertile soil increases the pressure for production on less fertile soil, leading to overuse of fertilizers and other detrimental effects, the study said.

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