Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Soils

17 July 2018

This book, by Klaus Lorenz and Rattan Lal, discusses the present state of knowledge on soil carbon dynamics in different types of agricultural systems, including croplands, grasslands, wetlands and agroforestry systems. It also discusses bioenergy and biochar.

Image: Francish7, Tasty seasonal African Plums - known locally as Safu - in Basankusu, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
26 May 2018

A recent paper by FCRN member Roger Leakey of the International Tree Foundation explores the possibility of smallholder farms in Africa using trees and indigenous crops to provide many environmental, social and economic benefits.

26 May 2018

The electronic Rothamsted Archive provides data on agricultural experiments (starting in 1843) and weather records (since 1853). A recent paper gives an official account of the history of the archive. The archive includes results of experiments on wheat, permanent grassland, barley, woodland and rotational systems.

15 May 2018

A report by WWF, The Rivers Trust and The Angling Trust finds that only 14% of rivers in England are classed as healthy, with damage being caused by poor farming and land management practices, for example by degraded soil being washed into watercourses and agricultural chemicals contaminating groundwater. The report sets out a strategy for managing both soil and water health, including stricter control of slurry storage, incentives for farmers to plant woodland or create wetland habitats and creating an advice service for farmers and land managers.

Image: Dudarev Mikhail, Stumps in the valley caused by deforestation and slash and burn types of agriculture in Madagascar, IPBES Media Resources
10 April 2018

Land degradation caused by human activities is driving the world towards a sixth mass species extinction, makes climate change worse, has negative impacts on at least 3.2 billion people and costs the world the equivalent of 10% of annual GDP through lost biodiversity and ecosystems services, according to a report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Image: Winniepix, The ploughing match-19.jpg, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
10 April 2018

This article evaluates the “4 per 1000” initiative’s potential to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) by assessing 16 long-term soil experiments conducted by the UK based Rothamsted Research, involving 114 different soil treatments (including addition of farmyard manure (FYM), nitrogen fertilisers, pasture leys, conversion of arable land into woodland and residue incorporation) over 7–157 years.

Image: NRCS Soil Health, Touch healthy soil, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
26 March 2018

UK farmers may be given targets to reverse soil damage and restore soil health by 2030, as part of an agricultural bill to be brought before parliament later this year.

Image: Brian Boucheron, Fairyland Mesclun Mixed, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
19 March 2018

The Carbon Underground, Green America and various food industry partners are developing a new standard for regenerative agriculture. It is claimed that the standard will encourage farmers to restore soil and improve crop resilience and nutrient density.

Image: USDA, k9515-1, flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
19 March 2018

In this paper, researchers from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission investigate the extent to which variation in nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions may offset or enhance the mitigation effects of carbon sequestration in arable European soils. They employ a biogeochemical model with input data from ~8000 soil sampling locations to quantify CO2 and N2O flux associated with different agricultural practices aimed at carbon (C) mitigation.

26 February 2018

Scotland’s soils contain over half of the UK’s soil carbon stock, making it important to know how to avoid soil carbon loss. The Scottish landscape is currently a net sink for carbon (mainly due to forestry). A recent report assesses current knowledge on soil carbon and land use in Scotland.

20 February 2018

This report from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) considers the relationships between land use, land degradation and sustainable development goals.

Photo: Raúl Hernández González, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
8 January 2018

This article presents the results from a new global soil erosion model, based on a combination of remote sensing, GIS modelling and census data. It finds that accelerated soil erosion due to land use change between 2001 and 2012 is a major threat to soil and future agriculture but that previous commonly used estimates of annual global soil erosion were twice too high. In comparison with previous studies which had a mapping resolution of around 10–60 km cell size, this model with its high-resolution 250m cell size has far greater predictive power than any previous model. 

Photo: Matthias Ripp, Agriculture, Flickr, CC by 2.0
13 November 2017

This paper, by researchers from the US and the Netherlands, presents the findings of a model analysis that estimates how much soil organic carbon (SOC) has been lost, and from where, as a result of land use and land cover change (LU-LCC) associated with human agricultural activities.

30 October 2017

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has published its first edition of the Global Land Outlook (GLO), addressing future challenges and opportunities for the management and restoration of land resources in the context of sustainable development.

6 September 2017

Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions has released a report based on their conference ‘Sequestering Carbon in Soil:  Addressing the Climate Threat’ held in May 2017. 

29 August 2017

This book contains six chapters on food security and sustainability in the Middle East. The book can be purchased in its entirety or by chapter online.

Photo: United Soybean Board, Soil, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
13 July 2017

In this short perspective piece, researchers from the Netherlands, USA and the UK critically assess the COP21 4 per 1000 initiative, which seeks to increase global yearly agricultural soil organic carbon sequestration by 4‰ (= 0.4%, or 1.2 billion tonnes). The authors argue that as soil organic matter (SOM) also contains nitrogen (N), with a C-to-N ratio always approaching 12, this will require the sequestration of an extra 100 million tonnes of N per year, and they question the feasibility of achieving this. 

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