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Hugh Hammond Bennett


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Hugh Hammond Bennett (1881–1960), soil conservationist, often called “Big Hugh,” was reared on the badly gully-eroded piedmont of southern North Carolina. Thereafter, he accepted a position as a field soil surveyor in the Bureau of Soils of the United States Department of Agriculture. It was in 1905, while working on a soil survey of Louisa County, Virginia, that he was confronted by the specter of sheet erosion. As Barnes (1960, p. 506) put it, “… he mapped eroded and gullied soils over our far-flung corn, cotton and tobacco regions. He decided that this erosion was destroying the resource base for posterity, that it was not something we had to accept and that something ought to be done about it.” Thus it was, following in the steps of two American soil erosion pioneers, McGee and Shaler, that Bennett became the world's leading scholar of soil erosion and the father of the soil conservation movement. He made millions understand that topsoil is a valuable but all too finite resource.

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From Encyclopedia of Global Change in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Environmental Science.


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