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Assessing the impact of soil degradation on food production

Bindraban, Prem S, van der Velde, Marijn, Ye, Liming, van den Berg, Maurits, Materechera, Simeon, Kiba, Delwendé Innocent, Tamene, Lulseged, Ragnarsdóttir, Kristín Vala, Jongschaap, Raymond, Hoogmoed, Marianne, Hoogmoed, Willem, van Beek, Christy, van Lynden, Godert
Current opinion in environmental sustainability 2012 v.4 no.5 pp. 478-488
crop production, farming systems, food production, food security, food spoilage, humans, remote sensing, soil degradation, sustainable land management, Africa, China
Continuing soil degradation remains a serious threat to future food security. Yet, global soil degradation assessments are based on qualitative expert judgments or remotely sensed quantitative proxy values that suffice to raise awareness but are too coarse to identify appropriate sustainable land management interventions. Studies in China and Sub Saharan Africa illustrate the considerable impact of degradation on crop production but also point to the need for solutions dependent on location specific agro-ecological conditions and farming systems.The development of a comprehensive approach should be feasible to better assess both extent and impact of soil degradation interlinking various scales, based on production ecological approaches and remote sensing to allow disentangling natural and human induced causes of degradation. A shared common knowledge base cataloguing hard-won location-specific interventions is needed for successfully preventing or mitigating degradation.