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Infographic #6 - Soils store and filter water

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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Soils store and filter water
    Improving food security and our resilience to floods and droughts
    Functional soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts. Water infiltration through soil traps pollutants and prevents them from leaching into the groundwater. Moreover, the soil captures and stores water, making it available for absorption by crops, and thus minimizing surface evaporation and maximizing water use efficiency and productivity
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    Hydrological functioning of forested catchments, Central Himalayan Region, India
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
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    Central Himalayan forested catchments provide large quantities of fresh water supply and innumerable ecosystem services to millions of people. Hence, detailed understanding of the forest-water linkages is important to determine the availability of water at catchment scale. Therefore, the present study aims to understand the hydrological response of two forested catchments (namely, Arnigad and Bansigad) in the Central Himalayan Region. Three-years’ data (March, 2008 to February, 2011) were collected from meteorological and hydrological stations in these catchments. The annual hyetograph analysis revealed that the rainfall at both the catchments was highly seasonal, and wet-period (June-September) plays a key role in catchment functioning. Exceedance of rainfall threshold of ~200 mm (~10% of annual rainfall) significantly increased streamflow generation at both catchments. At Arnigad, the stream was perennial with a mean baseflow of ~83 mm per month (~6% of annual baseflow) whereas, Bansigad had greater seasonality due to lack of streamflow during the pre-wet-period (March-May). The forest ecosystem at Arnigad displayed healthier hydrological functioning in terms of reduced stormflow (82%), and enhanced baseflow (52%), soil moisture (13%), steady infiltration rate (22%) and lag time (~15 minutes) relative to Bansigad. These enhanced values indicated soil capability to store water at the forested catchment (Arnigad) and helped to understand the volume of water (discharge) that was available during dry-period. This study shows that rainfall during the wet-period was the main driver of hydrological functioning, whereas, forests provided substantial services by regulating water balance through different mechanisms of forest components at catchment-scale in the Central Himalayan region. Key Words: Himalaya, threshold, stormflow, baseflow, soil moisture.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Global assessment of soil pollution: Report 2021
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    Soil pollution is invisible to the human eye, but it compromises the quality of the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe and puts human and environmental health at risk. Most contaminants originate from human activities such as industrial processes and mining, poor waste management, unsustainable farming practices, accidents ranging from small chemical spills to accidents at nuclear power plants, and the many effects of armed conflicts. Pollution knows no borders: contaminants are spread throughout terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and many are distributed globally by atmospheric transport. In addition, they are redistributed through the global economy by way of food and production chains. Soil pollution has been internationally recognized as a major threat to soil health, and it affects the soil’s ability to provide ecosystem services, including the production of safe and sufficient food, compromising global food security. Soil pollution hinders the achievement of many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those related to poverty elimination (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), and good health and well-being (SDG 3). Soil pollution hits the most vulnerable hardest, especially children and women (SDG 5). The supply of safe drinking water is threatened by the leaching of contaminants into groundwater and runoff (SDG 6). CO2 and N2O emissions from unsustainably managed soils accelerate climate change (SDG 13). Soil pollution contributes to land degradation and loss of terrestrial (SDG 15) and aquatic (SDG 14) biodiversity, and decreased the security and resilience of cities (SDG 11), among others.

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