Tierras ricas en carbono pueden evitar catástrofes climáticas

ARLINGTON, Estados Unidos, 31 mar 2020 (IPS) – Las tierras ricas en carbono, en bosques, turberas y humedales, pueden ahorrarle al planeta una catástrofe climática, a condición de que no se destruyan ni se degraden, advirtió una investigación de la organización Conservation International divulgada este martes 31.

El carbono irrecuperable se encuentra en seis de los siete continentes en que la organización divide el planeta, incluidas grandes reservas en la Amazonia, en la cuenca del Congo, Indonesia, el noroeste de América del Norte, el sur de Chile, el sudeste de Australia y en Nueva Zelanda.

La investigación, dirigida por los científicos Allie Goldstein y Will Turner, destacó que “el mundo necesita que el carbono irrecuperable que contienen estas tierras, más de 260 000 millones de toneladas, se quede en el suelo”, para alcanzar la meta de emisiones cero requerida en el planeta para el año 2050.

En cambio, si se libera a la atmósfera a través de la destrucción del ecosistema, este carbono generaría 26 veces las emisiones globales de combustible fósil de 2019.



Nature’s Waste Becomes the Soil’s Nourishment

A new way to compost

For less than one dollar per acre, a composting bioreactor increases crop yield, nutrition and biological diversity in fields.

Usually composting means gathering discarded fruits and vegetables and having them decompose into healthy materials for the soil. But recently, a new composting method has evolved – a practice that uses a specific blend of grasses and leaves.

A little more than six years ago, David C. Johnson, a faculty affiliate at the Center for Regenerative Agriculture at California State University – Chico, discovered a new way of composting – he invented the Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactor. Since then, he’s fine-tuned, tested and experimented with this low-cost unit, and he has asked others to join him.

Isaac Broeckelman, a soil conservation technician at NRCS in South Hutchinson, decided to do just that. He is building a few bioreactors and getting ready to see how they work in Kansas weather.

Next fall, he plans to present a workshop on how to build and use these inexpensive tools.



Natural Solutions to the Climate Crisis? One-quarter Is All down to Earth

Joint research conducted by the Nature Conservancy and the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, calculated the carbon-storing power of global soils and showcased approaches like agroforestry designed to capitalise on untapped potential.

A critical, nature-based approach to mitigating  has been right at our feet all along, according to a new study reporting that soil represents up 25% of the total global potential for  (NCS) – approaches that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and lock it into landscapes, including forests, croplands and peatlands.

Representing the first time soil’s total global potential for carbon-mitigation across forests, wetlands, agriculture and grasslands together has been cataloged, the study provides a timely reminder not to neglect the power of soils and the many benefits these ecosystems can deliver for climate, wildlife and agriculture.

Published in the journal Nature Sustainability, the study is titled “The role of soil carbon in natural climate solutions.” The research also argues that a lack of clarity to date regarding the full scale of this opportunity and how to best capitalize on it has restricted investment.


Healthy Soils Lead to Healthy Food and Added Value for All

It’s been said that America has the most plentiful, safe and nutritious food supply in the world. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reported that 89.9% of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year, with 11.1% of households reporting some food insecurity at least some time during the year, an improvement over the prior year.

On a global scale, the ERS published its annual International Food Security Assessment in November. Given projections for increasing per capita incomes and lower food prices, food security is expected to improve in all 76 low- and middle-income countries studied over the next 10 years. And the share of people unable to reach the nutritional target is projected to decline from 19% in 2019 to 9% over the next decade of the regional populations. That’s a decline of 45%.

With our vast natural resources and our breadth of food and agriculture research, American farmers can grow enough to feed our own nation and many others.


Soil Carbon: The Secret Weapon to Battle Climate Change?

Human society is literally built on soil. It feeds the world and produces vital fuel and fiber. But most people rarely give soil a second thought.

Recently, though, soil has been getting some well-deserved attention from environmental organizations, policymakers and industry leaders. It has been covered in news articles, argued over in policy debates and has even received an international day of recognition.

Why all this attention? Because the world urgently needs ways to keep carbon out of the atmosphere, and to build food security for a rapidly growing global population. Soil can do both.

However, current efforts to promote carbon storage in soil miss a key point: Not all soil carbon is the same. As scientists focusing on soil ecology and sustainability, we believe that managing soil carbon effectively requires taking its differences into account.

Soil carbon is amazingly complex

Building up soil carbon can help cut greenhouse gas concentrations in the air. It also improves soil quality in many ways: It gives soil structure, stores water and nutrients that plants need and feeds vital soil organisms.


Down Under

Australia is salty, flat, and mostly dry. Repeated submerging by the ocean over the eons combined with a lack of geological uplift (necessary for weathering rock into topsoil) created thin, nutrient-poor soils that were rapidly depleted by a pattern of colonial agricultural designed for the wet climes of England. Plow, cow, sheep, gun, dog, fox, rabbit, and tractor – all exotic – transformed Australia’s fragile ecosystem into a ravished landscape of eroding gullies, denuded flora, and declining native fauna. The advent of industrialized crop and livestock production after World War II made things worse as tilling and overgrazing continued to deplete what remained of the soil’s fertility.

As I saw on my trip, however, a corner had been turned in Australia’s assault on its soil. On a sheep farm in northwest New South Wales called Winona, owned by Colin Seis, I learned that not only are Australians re-hydrating the soil of their depleted continent but they are re-carbonizing it as well.



Why It’s Time to Stop Treating the Soil Like Dirt

• We risk losing the world’s topsoil within 60 years.

• Tens of millions of farmers could provide an incremental transformation of soil care.

• Businesses are underestimating the impact of nature loss.

One of my greatest joys is to see first-hand the many solutions already created to help solve the climate crisis. One of my greatest frustrations, however, is our inability to apply these solutions at scale.

2019 was the year that nature and land use made it to the top of the global agenda. It became clear that we will not meet the Paris Agreement if we don’t solve broken food and land-use systems.

Land degradation is affecting 3.2 billion people, and for far too long this has gone under the radar. This must change in 2020. If not, we risk that all the world’s topsoil be eroded in the next 60 years.

Healthy soil is a resource of incredible magnitude. It captures and stores water and carbon, increases biodiversity, and it preserves and increases food security.

Un uso apropiado de la tierra podría reducir drásticamente las emisiones globales

El uso de la tierra es ampliamente conocido como un factor importante detrás del cambio climático. Un nuevo documento proporciona una hoja de ruta ambiciosa para los cambios en el manejo forestal, la agricultura y la bioenergía para garantizar que los aumentos de temperatura global se mantengan por debajo del objetivo de calentamiento de 1.5 ° C.

Publicado en Nature Climate Change, el estudio explora medidas clave que pueden reducir a la mitad las emisiones del sector terrestre cada década desde 2020 hasta 2050. Partiendo de modelos climáticos, el estudio sugiere 24 prácticas que pueden proporcionar las mayores reducciones de emisiones y otros beneficios colaterales.

Los autores enfatizan el potencial de seis áreas de acción prioritarias:

(1) reducir la deforestación; (2) restaurar bosques y otros ecosistemas, particularmente en países tropicales; (3) mejorar el manejo forestal y la agrosilvicultura; (4) mejorar el secuestro de carbono del suelo en la agricultura; (5) reducir el desperdicio de alimentos de los consumidores y (6) hacer que una de cada cinco personas cambie a dietas bajas en carnes.


Soil Health Hits the Big Time!

It began at the pivotal UN climate summit in Paris in 2015 (COP21), which I had the honor of attending on the behalf of the Quivira Coalition and Regeneration International as an observer. As you will recall, in an effort to slow climate change delegates from 197 nations negotiated and then signed a landmark Agreement committing their governments to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2020 (alas, recent events have undercut the Agreement’s prospects).

This was big news at the time, but there was another important development that did not make headlines. It occurred on December 1st when the French government launched a plan to improve food security and fight climate change with soil carbon called the ‘4 For 1000 Initiative’ – a number that refers to a targeted annual growth rate of soil carbon stocks. “Supported by solid scientific documentation, this initiative invites all partners to state or implement some practical actions on soil carbon storage and the type of practices to achieve this.” (see)


Sue Lani Madsen: Investing in Soil Health Is an Investment in the Future

We’ve been treating soil like dirt for too long. Dirt needs to be fed in order to produce. Healthy soil contains tens of thousands of microbes pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and turning it into food for themselves and for us.

Investing in soil health is an investment in future generations continuing to eat, according to David Montgomery, a University of Washington geologist. His first book, “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations,” looked at the consequences of ignoring soil health. He recently published “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.”

Focusing on common ground over food is a healthy way to start the new year. It’s a place where government is, as is often the case, both the problem and part of the potential solution.

“Our biggest mistake in 20th-century agriculture is we tried to make the land respond to a single set of practices. We’ve undervalued both the land and the creativity of farmers,” Montgomery said.