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Why are black Soils important? - Ronald Vargas, FAO


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International Symposium on Black Soils (ISBS18): Protect Black Soils, Invest in the Future. 10 - 12 October, Harbin, China

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Why are black Soils important? - Ronald Vargas, FAO

  1. 1. Why are black soils important? Ronald Vargas GSP Secretary
  2. 2. 2 Food security and nutrition for all!!! FAO’s mandate!
  3. 3. Investing on sustainable soil management, providing multiple benefits: - Food security: food production, nutrition and food safety. - Climate change mitigation and adaptation (resilience). - Provision of ecosystem services and biodiversity. - Reducing degradation (LDN). - Sustainable development (SDGs). - Pollution free world: soil pollution. - Poverty alleviation and rural development.
  4. 4. Soils and Sustainable Development Goals
  5. 5. Why are soils so important?
  6. 6. Why are soils so important?
  7. 7. Condition and trend for the ten soil threats for the regions
  8. 8. Sustainable Development Goals
  9. 9. What is a black soil? Refer to many different soil types that have: • A High organic carbon content. • Mollic horizon. • Stabile aggregate structure. • Dark brown to black colored surface horizon due to their enrichment of high-quality humus. • A high base saturation (basic cations Ca2+, Mg2+ and K+).
  10. 10. Soil types and classification of black soils in the world Soil types Soil classification Priority Chernozems WRB Kastanozems WRB Phaeozems WRB Mollisols US Soil Taxonomy National black soil types Chernozems Russian/Ukraine classification Isohumisols China classification Chernozemic Canada classification
  11. 11. Where are they distributed? • North America: Mexico (50 million ha), United States (200 million ha) ;Canada (more than 40 million ha). • Eurasia where they extend over around 450 million ha across south-eastern Europe and central Asia. • Northeast China, totalling 103 million ha. • South America, central-eastern Argentina (89 million ha), and Uruguay (13 million ha). • Minor areas in the temperate zone and in mountainous areas. WRB US Soil Taxonomy Chernozems + Kastanozems + Phaeozems Mollisoils
  12. 12. Some historic trends in SOC stocks SOM dynamics in Heilongjiang Province Morrow Plots, Illinois Clearing Prairies (natural grassland) for agriculture Gollany et al, 2011 Ren et al, 2018 long-term rotations experiment in Uruguay by the Century model
  13. 13. 0 5 10 15 20 25 % of total SOC stock Global SOC stock: 680 Pg C (0-30cm). 10 countries hold more than 60% of global SOC stock. Global SOC stocks
  14. 14. Soil type World-wide extension (hectares) USE Chernozems 230 million Wheat, barley, maize, vegetables. Livestock rearing Kastanozems 465 million Small grains, irrigated food and vegetable crops. Extensive grazing Phaeozems 190 million Soybean, wheat, barley, vegetables, cotton. Cattle rearing and fattening on improved pastures.
  15. 15. Increased awareness in black soils • 945 million hectares worldwide: 7% world’s ice-free land surface. • Inherently productive and fertile soils. • They are considered “the world crop basket”. • Signifiant SOC content. • Most productive and threatened soil resources of the world. • Non-renewable natural resource.
  16. 16. Black soils remain very sensitive to anthropogenic intervention. They are prone to severe degradation not only on SOC loss, but also on: Guiqing Han; Ivan Vasenev; Miguel Taboada Loss of stable aggregates Salinization or sodification Soil compaction Soil nutrient unbalance Soil biodiversity losses Anthropogenic soil acidity Risks and threats
  17. 17. Risks and threats • Black soils are extensively and intensively farmed (cereal, pasture, range and forage system). Increase the world's population will require enough food and healthy soils to provide it.
  18. 18. Risks and threats Depleting black soil has not only important consequences for food security but also for biodiversity Liu et al, 2010
  19. 19. Risks and threats Soil erosion Nearing et al., 2017
  20. 20. Risks and threats • Dehumification • Compaction • Salinization • Sodification • Anthropogenic soil acidity • Contamination Excessive cultivation and summer fallowing have caused a 50% decline in soil organic matter
  21. 21. Pillar 1: Promote sustainable management of soil resources for soil protection, conservation and sustainable productivity. Basis for the sustainable management of BS
  22. 22. Recommendation 6: Prevent SOC losses by maintaining current SOC stocks (especially in carbon-rich soils) as the minimum action on SOC management. Recommendation 7: Prioritize soils with the highest carbon stocks in the development of national and regional policies on soil conservation to prevent SOC losses. Recommendation 8: Support land-users sufficiently to implement and sustain appropriate soil and land management practices to protect and enhance SOC under local conditions for long-term benefit. Basis for the sustainable management of BS
  23. 23. Basis for the sustainable management of BS • Indicator 2.3.1: Volume of production per labour unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size. • Indicator 2.4.1: Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture. Central role of black soil resources for food security, agricultural sustainability and productivity
  24. 24.  Maintain the SOC content of these gifted soils. Launch of the International Network of Black Soils
  25. 25. Concrete actions for SSM in BS First Workshop of INBS • Definition of black soils. • The status of world black soils. • Research. • Management. • Projects. Three days of hard work, discussions and agreements International Symposium on Black Soils • 300 participants from 18 countries. • Keynote Presentation. • General overview and challenges of black soils in each country. • Discussion, recommendations, conclusions and way forward.