Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management coming up!
On 27th May 2016, the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) endorsed a set of voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management, marking a step towards coordinated action to assure that the earth under our feet - a keystone of global food security - remains fertile. The Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management are on track to be presented to the FAO Council for adoption in December 2016.
In Malawi, an FAO survey found that to prevent soil loss, "sustainable soil management interventions such as mulching, minimal tillage, cover plants, contour ridges, and pitting, actually work". Thus said Ronald Vargas, soils and land management officer at FAO, who added: "This illustrates what must to be done on a vast scale across the planet to promote sustainable management of the world's soils." The dynamics on display in Malawi play out on a planetary scale: Globally, 75 billion tonnes of soil are lost from arable land each year and an estimated $400 billion in agricultural production is lost.
Minimizing soil erosion by water and wind is a top priority for the guidelines. The guidelines also emphasize the importance of enhancing soil organic matter, which not only makes cropland more fertile but has a critical role in efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change through carbon sequestration.
The Global Soil Partnership promotes efforts to improve the parlous state of the world's soils, a third of which are defined as degraded.