Started reading Dr. Craven’s Soil Exhaustion.
I’d like to go into deatil but sufice to say, he identifies several factors which resulted in soil exhaustion:
* ignorance of the planters who could care less about soil conservation methods, even though it was practiced routinely in Europe. No animal manure, for example, was recycled into the soil, which shocked European visitors, who noted too that, cattle were not penned but tended to be scrawny and roamed the forested areas of a planter’s estate unchecked.
* It was cheaper to move onto to new lands than to try to re-cultivate old, worn out ones.
* The technology of the period negated soil conservation efforts. The best plows and earth cultivators of the period could dig no deeper than 6 inches, never reaching below the top soil. Washington, who purchased some of the best equipment from Europe for his plantation, complained of this.
* The European tobacco market demand combined with county administrative forces encouraged backward farming techniques, hindering interest in other farming methods.
These are just some of the insights. His citations are excellent!