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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Need for mountain soils conservation harped

There is now additional impetus in the effort to ensure that the world mountain soils, which are the fragile foundations of ecosystems that ultimately provide water for more than half the world's population, are preserved, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This move was enhanced with the publication of a new FAO book  which offers technical insights on the sustainable management of mountain soils, which are home to a vast array of human activities ranging from quinoa cultivation in the Andes through European ski resorts to the collection of medicinal plants in Tajikistan's "roof of the world" Pamir range.

ErmannoZanini, an expert on glaciers and natural risks and professor at the University of Turin said, the book  aims to "promote the sustainable management of mountain soils on behalf of mountain peoples - who are often marginalized, not included in decision-making processes and development programmes, and increasingly affected by soil-related disasters."

"Understanding Mountain Soils," published by FAO with the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, the Global Soil Partnership and the University of Turin, contains a host of case studies from around the world covering human, productive and geological issues, NaijaAgroNet gathered.

"Mountain soils are particularly susceptible to climate change, deforestation, unsustainable farming practices and resource extraction methods that affect their fertility, trigger land degradation, desertification and disasters such as floods and landslides, leading to poverty," FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva writes in the preface to the volume.

The book, NaijaAgroNet discovered revealed the main features of mountain soil systems, their environmental, economic and social values, the threats they are facing and their cultural heritage. Case studies provided by Mountain Partnership members include how shade-grown coffee improves soil conservation, the surprising carbon storage powers of the windblown Scottish coastline, the viability of shifting cultivation in Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts, and unusual peat bogs in Lesotho.

Cyriacus Nnaji/ GEE

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