Natural Resources
     and Environment

News, Publications & Announcements - Land Resources

July 2009
Saudi Arabia to fund FAO World Food Security Summit
November meeting to discuss eradication of hunger

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Land Tenure  -Land Resources  -Water Resources  -Climate Change  -Bioenergy  -Genetic Resources & Biodiversity  
December 2008
Harmonized world soil database(version 1.0. FAO/IIASA/ISRIC/ISS-CAS/JRC, 2008. FAO, Rome, Italy and IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria).

A new database on the world’s soils improves knowledge of the current and future land productivity as well as the present carbon storage and carbon sequestration potential of the world’s soils. It helps to identify land and water limitations, and assist in assessing the risks of land degradation, particularly soil erosion risks. Derived from the soil database, FAO has produced a global Carbon Gap Map that allows for the identification of areas where soil carbon storage is greatest and the physical potential for billions of tons of additional carbon to be sequestrated in degraded soils. Soil information, from global to local scale, has often been the one missing biophysical information layer, which absence added to the uncertainties of predicting potentials and constraints for food and fibre production. The lack of reliable and harmonized soil data has hampered considerably land degradation assessments, environmental impact studies and adapted sustainable land management interventions.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Land Resources  
December 2008
Farmer field schools on land and water management in Africa. Proceedings of an international workshop in Jinja, Uganda -24–29 April 2006. FAO Rome, 2008

Throughout Africa, degrading land resources and poor water management are serious impediments to the development of agriculture. Inappropriate farming practices result in soil erosion, a loss of soil organic matter and declining fertility and capacity to retain water. Once-fertile soils become compacted and crusted, causing valuable rainwater to run off rather than seep into the ground and carrying with it precious topsoil and nutrients. The results are unhealthy crops due to water and nutrient deficits and the build-up of weeds and diseases, poor and unreliable yields, and chronic water shortages due to lack of recharge of ground water. How to escape from this vicious cycle? FAO and other development organizations have been promoting farmer field schools – an innovative approach to adult education first developed in Southeast Asia for pest management – to improve land and water management in Africa.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Land Resources  
October 2008
Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) Field Guides. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Rome, 2008

The maintenance of good soil quality is vital for the environmental and economic sustainability of annual cropping. A decline in soil quality has a marked impact on plant growth and yield, grain quality, production costs and the increased risk of soil erosion. Therefore, it can have significant consequences on society and the environment. A decline in soil physical properties in particular takes considerable time and cost to correct. Safeguarding soil resources for future generations and minimizing the ecological footprint of annual cropping are important tasks for land managers. Visual Soil Assessment is based on the visual assessment of key soil ‘state’ and plant performance indicators of soil quality, presented on a scorecard. With the exception of soil texture, the soil indicators are dynamic indicators, i.e. capable of changing under different management regimes and land-use pressures. Being sensitive to change, they are useful early warning indicators of changes in soil condition and as such provide an effective monitoring tool.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Land Resources  
July 2008
New global soil database
Soil database win-win options for climate change mitigation and food production

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Land Resources  

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