Could carbon farming save our soils?

By: Tom Oder

Sustainable agricultural practices add essential carbon to soil’s organic matter, which could be key to reviving soil quality.

Declining soil health could mean problems ahead as the world’s population grows. (Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture/flickr)

The world’s soils are in jeopardy. Some scientists think agricultural soils are in such serious decline that the ability of the planet’s farmers to feed future generations is seriously compromised.
The United Nations is so concerned about the issue of soil health that after two years of intensive work, the General Assembly declared Dec. 5 to be World Soil Day and 2015 the International Year of Soils.
The goal of both events is to enhance awareness of the important roles soils play in human life, especially as populations increase and global demand for food, fuel and fiber rise.
Fertile soil is critical to sustaining food and nutritional security, maintaining essential ecosystem functions, mitigating the effects of climate change, reducing the occurrence of extreme weather events, eradicating hunger, reducing poverty and creating sustainable development.
By increasing global awareness that soils everywhere are in jeopardy, Year of Soils proponents hope policymakers will act to protect and manage soils in a sustainable manner for the world’s different land users and population groups.

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