Healthy soils are biodiversity hot-spots, hosting diverse communities of microbes, vital plants, and beneficial invertebrates. Soils also contain 80% of the carbon stored on land, play an important role in meeting global greenhouse gas emissions targets, and store and filter pollutants. Yet, soils are in crisis, with 75 billion metric tons of soil lost every year due to erosion from arable land. The loss of soil creates large quantities of greenhouse gas emissions and decreases ecosystem services.
Impact of land degradation on food production
Currently, 3.2 billion people live in areas impacted by land degradation. Most of them live in rural areas, particularly smallholder farmers. In addition, land degradation has a negative impact on the world’s food supply. Food production relies on healthy land quality. While predictions are that by the year 2050, there will be an increased demand for agricultural products. With the world’s population projected to increase by 35 percent. Degradation of land also makes agricultural production systems less resilient.
Reducing yields and threatening the stability of food systems.
Despite the efforts of the international community, land degradation continues to pose a major challenge to food security and agricultural production. Several barriers to global land conservation exist, including growing demand for land, fragmented decision-making within and between countries, and increasing costs of restoration as time passes. Nevertheless, there are a number of successful projects that have benefited both local farmers and others alike. By 2030, the world needs to move towards sustainable land management to reduce the impact of land degradation on food production.
The loss of pollination could cut food crop production by 25% to 32%. In the EU, 85% of food crops are dependent on insect pollination. However, speculation is that a large percentage of agricultural land is degraded. Causing losses of nearly 3 million tonnes of wheat and 0.6 million tonnes of maize each year. Soil erosion alone is responsible for about a third of the soil’s productivity.
Carbon sequestration in soils
The goal of carbon sequestration is to reduce the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide and store it in the ground. Sequestration can occur in two different ways: naturally and through human activity. Natural carbon sequestration involves capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in underground geological formations for long periods of time. This method will allow us to continue using fossil fuels until another energy source can be introduced. Currently, scientists are researching more methods to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the ground.
Soil carbon sequestration has many benefits to crops and the environment. It prevents desertification, erosion, and enhances biodiversity. Increasing soil carbon sequestration will help reduce land degradation, which is an increasingly common cause of climate change. Land degradation reduces crop yields and carbon content in agro-ecosystems. As a result, sequestration could improve things for society.
Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are a major cause of climate change. Soil carbon is critical for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Soil carbon sequestration is a critical step in the fight against climate change. But there are a number of challenges that lie ahead. This research will help the world to better understand and mitigate climate change. It will help us protect our environment and our food supply by providing a better way to manage soils.
As the climate continues to change, the frequency of drought events is increasing around the world. According to the UN’s Drowning by Numbers report. More than half of the world’s population could be affected by drought by 2050. In the US alone, there are a number of areas facing water scarcity and a decrease in food production. The FAO has launched an emergency relief plan to help drought-affected communities. Meanwhile, the UNHCR has appealed for $42.6 million to assist those suffering from droughts.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a warning that droughts will become more severe. In particular, the Mediterranean region is at risk of drought. Droughts pose a great risk for agriculture, and cooperation among nations is necessary to prioritize early action. To combat drought, the IPCC has issued a new call for “rising up from drought together” and “full commitment to climate change preparedness.”
Clearly the number of extreme water-related events has been steadily increasing over the last decade. The year 2021 was no different. Droughts and heatwaves were common throughout Madagascar, Brazil, and Somalia, while floods swept across southern Europe. In addition, a stifling wildfire season across the globe in 2021 led to a high carbon emission level in Siberia. The impacts of these extreme weather events are severe.
Sustainable agricultural practices
Sustainability is important in the world’s agriculture. While irrigation, crop rotation, and inter-cropping have increased efficiency in the past, many countries have shifted to more conventional methods. These methods require a lot of energy and could create risks of locking farmers into debt traps. Fortunately, there are many ways to minimize the impact of conventional methods on the planet’s soil. Here are a few examples.
A more sustainable agriculture can be implemented by following integrated pest management practices. These methods are designed to control pests by balancing the environment and products. It also includes using certified seeds, irrigating and draining systems, and regular cleaning of machinery. Crop rotation also helps reduce soil erosion. The resulting crops have lower production costs and can also be more nutritious. The aim of sustainable farming is to reduce soil erosion and promote the health of the environment.
The 4 for 1000 Initiative is a global campaign aimed at increasing the amount of carbon stored in soil by 0.4% per year. This amount of carbon, which is stored in the soil, helps slow the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This program brings together public, private, and non-governmental actors to promote soil carbon storage practices, conservation agriculture, and landscape management. This initiative is voluntary and complements existing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Composting is an excellent way to improve the soil and prevent erosion. It improves soil organic matter concentration and structure, and can help keep the soil fertile for a long time. There are many benefits to composting, and a growing number of businesses are popping up all over the country. This is a great way to support the environment and reduce transportation costs. Composting is also a cost-effective method of soil reduction.
Composting reduces the amount of organic waste sent to landfills by as much as 50%. In addition, it reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizers. It is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Which are also associated with landfills. The International Compost Alliance is promoting composting as a way to combat climate change. The organization is launching a video to launch its campaign.
Composting is an aerobic decomposition of biodegradable organic matter. Bacteria, fungi, and larger organisms work together to convert organic waste into soil amendment called humus. The process is an effective way to reduce the amount of bio-waste going into landfills. It can also significantly reduce the amount of heat produced by landfills. Also helping reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that are released into the atmosphere.
The latest report on the state of the world’s soils and the threat of climate change warns of the need for action now. If we do not slow down our carbon dioxide emissions, the earth’s surface temperature could increase by 4.4 degrees Celsius within 80 years. Moreover, greenhouse gas concentrations are at their highest levels in two million years. In order to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees, we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% between 2020 and 2030.
According to the report, by 2022, the Arctic is already losing its ice cover, which threatens its food supplies, livelihoods, and cultural identity. Furthermore, the report shows that global air pollution has reached dangerous levels in 90% of the world’s cities, with the majority caused by the burning of fossil fuels. In addition, transportation and food systems are responsible for about a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The report highlights that the least developed countries are responsible for just 0.4 percent of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the developed nations contribute an estimate of 27 percent of the world’s carbon pollution. In addition, the report will call for more funding to support efforts made by LDCs to reduce the overall carbon footprint. Which is a major contributor to soil reduction.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.