The birthplace of agriculture, the Mideast's Fertile Crescent, became largely a desert long ago, and salt in the soil had a lot to do with it. Today, according to some estimates, salt-laden soil ruins the farming potential of more than one-third of all irrigated lands worldwide.
"Every time we water the land, we're depositing minute quantities of salt. It catches up with us," notes Eduardo Blumwald of the University of California, Davis.
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