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Soil Improvements Trends

A view of terraced hills in Gicumbi, Rwanda KAGERA TAMP project Trans-boundary Agro-Ecosystem Management

The trend in soil health is the assumed change in the recent past, determined by two major pressures on the soil as they are influenced by soil management:

  • the physical pressures related to loss of soil mass and structure and;
  • the pressures on the long term chemical well-being of the soil in terms of nutrient availability and the absence of toxicities built up in the soil.

This trend can be negative (degradation) if the soil management does not adequately counteract the (natural and management) pressures, but may also be positive and result in improvements when the applied soil management and conservation techniques and approaches are more than compensating soil deterioration.

Soil Improvements Practices at Local Level

The Kagera project adopts an integrated ecosystems approach for the management of soils and land resources in the Kagera Basin and generates local, national and global benefits including: restoration of degraded lands, carbon sequestration and climate change adaptation and mitigation, protection of international waters, agro-biodiversity conservation and sustainable use and improved agricultural production, leading to increased food security and improved rural livelihoods

Funded under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the Desire project project is international, bringing together 28 research institutes, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and policy-makers from around the world. The aim of the project is to come up with alternative strategies for the use and protection of these vulnerable areas.

Soil improvement trends globally

Trends in NDVI (1981-2006) translated in greenness losses and gains distinguished by climatic and human causes (sum NDVI)

The GLADA component of the LADA project identified global land improvement and degradation based on greenness trends over the last 25 years using NDVI analysis of historical satellite images with a coarse resolution. Results remained questionable given the coarse resolution of the source material, the difficulty to isolate climatic influences from human influences and the variable link between greenness trends and soil (land) degradation.

Soil improvements at national level

South Africa