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The role of soils in the combat and adaptation to climate change

Healthy soils can play an important role in climate change mitigation by storing carbon (carbon sequestration) and decreasing global greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

At the same time, agriculture contributes significantly to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). If soils are managed poorly or cultivated through unsustainable agricultural practices, soil carbon can be released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide which can contribute to climate change. As crop production has intensified, our soils have suffered the consequences. The steady conversion of grassland and forestland to cropland and grazing land has resulted in historic losses of soil carbon worldwide. In fact, land-use conversions and drainage of organic soils for cultivation are responsible for about 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

By restoring degraded soils and adopting sustainable management practices such as crop rotation, zero tillage, conservation agriculture, agroforestry and agroecology, there is the potential to decrease the emission of greenhouse gases from agriculture, enhance carbon sequestration and build resilience to climate change.

If sustainably managed, soils can be part of the solution when it comes to climate change mitigation. To find out more take a look at the infographic.

Source: http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/news/news-detail/en/c/340765/