The Hidden Hunger of Soils

The Hidden Hunger of Soils

The micronutrient concentration of our food strongly depends on the quality of the soil, since it serves as food source for plants and animals likewise. However, the soil condition is deteriorating rapidly.

A 12-Country Study using satellite maps now shows that:

  • About 30 percent of the global land area and thus the habitat of approximately 3.2 billion people are affected by severe soil degradation.
  • Over the past 30 years 33 percent of pastureland, 25 percent of cropland and 23 percent of forested areas have perished worldwide.
  • Soil degradation costs the world each year about 300 billion euros
  • At 26 percent, the largest share of these global costs is allocated to sub-Saharan countries.

Fig1-hidden hunger of soils

An international team of scientists stated that so far soil as a natural resource attracts the least attention and thus calls for a consequent change-in-mind of developing countries as well as industrialized countries. However, especially in sub-Saharan countries, including Zambia, the soil degradation of arable land and pastures is a life-threatening problem and co-responsible for migration. Farmers are lacking of knowledge and secured land-use rights as well as incentives for a sustainable use of land. The study includes besides the expertise on the soil condition Best Practices examples and concepts for the preservation and regeneration of soil Quality.

Read more:
Nkonya, A. Mirzaev und J.v. Braun (Hrsg.): Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement – A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development, Springer-Verlag, Publ. 2016. 


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