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A call to protect the world’s food basket: black soils

ITPS Soil Letters #7










Full ITPS soil letters series



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    Book (stand-alone)
    Global status of black soils 2022
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    Black soils are carbon-rich and highly fertile soils known as the world's food basket due to the variability of crops they sustain. For decades, these fertile soils have been widely cultivated and have played a key role in global agricultural production of cereals, tuber crops, oilseed, pastures, and forage systems. In addition, black soils play an important role on climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, this black treasure is under threat. Because of land use change from natural grasslands to cropping systems, unsustainable management practices and excessive use of agrochemicals, most of the black soils have lost half of their soil organic carbon stocks and suffer from moderate to severe erosion processes, as well as nutrient imbalances, acidification, compaction and soil biodiversity loss. FAO and its Global Soil Partnership are committed to the conservation and sustainable management of black soils and established the International Network of Black Soils. This report provides strategic information about the distribution, state and management of black soils and can guide decision-making regarding the sustainable management and conservation of black soils. One of the main recommendation of this report is the establishment of a global agreement for the sustainable management (for conservation, protection and production) of black soils. Sustainable management of black soils contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger), along with other SDGs such as SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 15 (Land degradation neutrality), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). It is also aligned with the four betters of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031: better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.
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    Journal, magazine, bulletin
    Soils, where food begins: how can soils continue to sustain the growing need for food production in the current fertilizer crisis?
    ITPS Soil Letters #6
    2023
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    Soils are directly and indirectly involved in the provision of most ecosystem services vital for humans, including food production, which is fundamental for food security and sovereignty. Soils are the basis for producing more than 95 percent of our food. However, one-third of the world’s soils are degraded to some extent due to erosion, loss of organic carbon and biodiversity, salinization, acidification, compaction, and nutrient imbalance, among other causes. This ITPS Soil Letters reflects on the close link between soil degrading processes and fertility loss and proposes a portfolio of solutions focused on soil health with the ultimate goal of achieving food security.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Status of the World's Soil Resources - Technical Summary 2015
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    This document presents a summary of the first Status of the World’s Soil Resources report, the goal of which is to make clear the essential connections between human well-being and the soil. The report provides a benchmark against which our collective progress to conserve this essential resource can be measured. The report synthesizes the work of some 200 soil scientists from 60 countries. It provides a global perspective on the current state of the soil, its role in providing ecosystem services, and the threats to its continued contribution to these services. The specific threats considered in the report are soil erosion, compaction, acidification, contamination, sealing, salinization, waterlogging, nutrient imbalance (e.g. both nutrient deficiency and nutrient excess), and losses of soil organic carbon (SOC) and of biodiversity.

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