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A. Save the Dirt: Rare and Endangered Soils

Narrator: This is Science Today. Certain soils in the United States, like certain plants and animals, are becoming increasingly rare, with some at risk of becoming extinct. Ronald Amundson, a professor of ecosystem sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, explains.

Amundson: We found that out of these nearly 20,000 different soil types, there's roughly 30 or 40 that we would consider more or less extinct. They've all been either converted to farming or urbanization.

Narrator: In their study, Amundson and his group used a unique map of soil diversity that depicts rare and endangered soils.

Amundson: We produced a map of the United States to show sort of the hot spots of endangered soils lie. In the Great Plains, the Cornbelt, the Great Valley of California were all areas where red colors basically dominated the map, as one might expect, due to the intensity of land use in these areas.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.