One thing that isn’t far from everyone’s minds these days is climate change, that’s because it’s so important. So important that even school children have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness and do something about it. But for growers of fresh produce what is the impact of soil on climate change? Growers need good soils to grow their produce but they also need a certain climate to get the best from their crops. Look after your soil and the impact on climate change will be seen.
It is a simple fact that poor soils fuel climate change. This is because there is x3 more carbon in the soil than in the atmosphere! This huge amount of carbon is released in land degradation.
What is land degradation? It is the process by which the quality of the land is affected by human activity. A recent Global Assessment carried out by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), land degradation is responsible for global annual emissions of up to 4.4 billion tonnes of CO2! This is because carbon stored in the soil is released which effects the growth of plants and reduces their intake of carbon from the atmosphere.
IPBES’s Global Assessment states that, unless we reduce and reverse land degradation, it is projected that by 2050:
· 50% of wild creatures will be lost,
· human migration of people from the driest lands will rise,
· and crop yields may reduce by up to 50% in some regions.
What is being done to address land degradation and climate change?
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change targeted a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2° above pre-industrial levels. Tackling land degradation could provide over 1/3 of the most cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation activities needed by 2030 to achieve this goal.
This is why climate change and soil go hand in hand, they need to be addressed with similar urgency in order to help tackle the ever devolving issue..
According to IPBES:
“Urgent action must be taken to halt, reduce and reverse land degradation. The longer we delay the more costly and difficult restoration becomes. The cost of inaction is at least three times higher than the cost of action. And the benefits of land restoration are many times more valuable than the costs.”