Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science

First Advisor

Kristopher Osterloh


Long-term and intensified agricultural land management has resulted in increased rates of soil erosion and has altered much of the carbon cycle at regional and global scales. Anthropogenic degradation of soil resources is a barrier to sustainable production, soil functioning, and ecosystem services. It is difficult to quantify the scope of pedogenic changes due to the lack of legacy data and short temporal scales. This study utilized decades to century-old soil information to quantify historical soil erosion losses and changes in soil carbon pools of eastern South Dakota soils. The results show that soils in the region have been significantly truncated by the forces of erosion. The results also show that there were significant decreases in soil carbon pools, however, it also shows that soil carbon may have begun to increase in more recent decades with shifts in management. This work deepened the understanding of anthropogenic impacts on soil resources since the rapid mechanization of agriculture. The study also highlights the value and importance of utilizing and building legacy soil datasets for quantifying pedogenic change.


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright