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FAO - Soil degradation: 3 times more money needed than for climate control - Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say

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  • FAO - Soil degradation: 3 times more money needed than for climate control - Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say

    Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say

    Experts point to damage caused by erosion and pollution, raising major concerns about degraded soil amid surging global demand for food.

    WED 2 DEC, 2015

    The world has lost a third of its arable land due to erosion or pollution in the past 40 years, with potentially disastrous consequences as global demand for foodsoars, scientists have warned.

    New research has calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil.

    The University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, which undertook the study by analysing various pieces of research published over the past decade, said the loss was “catastrophic” and the trend close to being irretrievable without major changes to agricultural practices.

    “You think of the dust bowl of the 1930s in North America and then you realise we are moving towards that situation if we don’t do something,” said Duncan Cameron, professor of plant and soil biology at the University of Sheffield.The continual ploughing of fields, combined with heavy use of fertilizers, has degraded soils across the world, the research found, with erosion occurring at a pace of up to 100 times greater than the rate of soil formation. It takes around 500 years for just 2.5cm of topsoil to be created amid unimpeded ecological changes.

    “We are increasing the rate of loss and we are reducing soils to their bare mineral components,” he said. “We are creating soils that aren’t fit for anything except for holding a plant up. The soils are silting up river systems – if you look at the huge brown stain in the ocean where the Amazon deposits soil, you realise how much we are accelerating that process.


    “We aren’t quite at the tipping point yet, but we need to do something about it. We are up against it if we are to reverse this decline.”

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    Experts point to damage caused by erosion and pollution, raising major concerns about degraded soil amid surging global demand for food
    “Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights – that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~

  • #2
    Sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration: Opportunities, challenges and the way forward


    2015



    LINK TO FAO REPORT (PDF)
    “Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights – that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~

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