FAO calls for sustainable management of soil resources

TEHRAN, Dec. 07 (MNA) – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released a statement marking the World Soil Day, in which the top organization draws attention to the importance of healthy soil and sustainable management of soil resources.

Every year, on September 5, FAO celebrates the World Soil Day. This year’s campaign "Stop soil erosion, Save our future" is envisaged to raise awareness on the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the increasing challenges in soil management and, raise the profile of healthy soil by encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to engage in proactively improving soil health.

The organization’s statement on the occasion of this day comes in the following:

Soils are the foundation for vegetation

Today FAO celebrates World Soil Day to draw attention to the importance of healthy soil and advocates for the sustainable management of soil resources.

Healthy soils are crucial for ensuring the continued growth of natural and managed vegetation, providing feed, fiber, fuel, medicinal products and other ecosystems services such as climate regulation and oxygen production.

Fertile soil encourages plant growth by providing plants with nutrients, acting as a water holding tank, and serving as the substrate to which plants anchor their roots.

In return, vegetation, tree cover and forests prevent soil degradation and desertification by stabilizing the soil, maintaining water and nutrient cycling, and reducing water and wind erosion.

Key challenges

Soil degradation is in many cases the direct result of poor soil management. The consequent decline in vegetation and its products such as feed, fiber, fuel and medicinal products has an adverse effect on soil productivity, human and livestock health, and economic activities.

Conversely, vegetation cover, particularly dense and healthy vegetation, protects soil from erosion agents such as wind and water and can improve its productivity.

FAO supports national endeavors in implementing sustainable management systems in pastures, forests and other vegetated lands to control erosion and preserve the soils, and consequently support rural livelihoods, maintain livestock production, promote the growth of vegetation and ensure current and future use of raw materials.

FAO celebrates this year’s World Soil Day calling people and stakeholders all around the world to take action to “Stop Soil Erosion” and preserve planet vegetation that are crucial for “Our Future.”

Soil helps to combat and adapt to climate change

Today FAO celebrates World Soil Day to draw attention to the importance of healthy soil and advocates for the sustainable management of soil resources.

Healthy soil provides the largest store of terrestrial carbon. When managed sustainably, soil can play an important role in climate change mitigation by storing carbon (carbon sequestration) and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

Conversely, if the soil is managed poorly or cultivated through unsustainable agricultural practices, soil carbon can be released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), which can contribute to climate change.

By restoring degraded soils and adopting soil conservation practices, there is a major potential to decrease the emission of greenhouse gases from agriculture, enhance carbon sequestration and build resilience to climate change.

Key challenges

As reported by FAO, climate change represents a serious threat to global food security, not least because of its effects on soils. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns can have a great impact on the organic matter and processes that take place in our soils, as well as the plants and crops that grow from them.

To meet the related challenges of global food security and climate change, agriculture and land management practices must undergo fundamental transformations.

FAO calls on its member countries to adopt improved agriculture and soil management practices that increase soil organic carbon, such as agro-ecology, organic farming, conservation agriculture and agroforestry. These practices produce fertile soil rich in organic matter (carbon) and less susceptible to erosion and desertification and will maintain vital ecosystem services such as the hydrological and nutrient cycles, which are essential to maintaining and increasing food production.

As it is underlined in this year’s theme of World Soil Day, erosion as the greatest threat for soil quality decreases soil’s capacity to mitigate the risks and effects of climate change. FAO calls people and stakeholders all around the world to take action to “Stop Soil Erosion” to “Save Our Future.”

MNA/FAO

News Code 153098

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