By Cameron Chai
The position statement developed by over 10,000 members of Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and American Society of Agronomy (ASA) on the implications of climate change to the current practices of soil and land management and agriculture warns of large impacts.
The statement cautions that changing climate will impair the potential of agriculture in supplying fiber, fuel, feed and food and other important eco- related services such as erosion control, pest management and pollination. The statement issued by scientists with international and national exposure in climate processes and providing mitigation for the impacts, easy to follow methods managed as well as natural ecosystems reflects their agreement for urgent steps.
The statement blames the increased level of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere as the sole cause for changes in climatic conditions. It details how the changes in temperature have begun to affect the availability of water, growing of crops and pests in some locations and warns such conditions will become more visible.
According to the statement, the agricultural sector will face a major problem in meeting the food demands of over 9 million people through half way of the 21st century while continuing the efforts to protect and improve the functions of the ecosystems worldwide. It indicates that while the erratic food prices endanger food security the rise in climate further complicates the problem and needs quick redress. It suggests for changed agricultural practices and cropping systems that slows down the climatic changes and to meet the growing future requirements of bioenergy, fiber, feed and food in addition to preserving natural resources.
According to the statement, the present agricultural activities are causes for nearly 10 to 15% discharge of the greenhouse gases such as N2O, CH4 and CO2. It suggests that agriculture alone can down the discharges between 5,500 and 6,000 Mt CO2-eq/yr by adopting green practices to increase productivity, cut down GHG discharges and preserving soil erosion. It suggests for a stepped-up and focused research in areas such as soil science, crop science and agronomy to assist the agriculture sector to respond to climate changes positively.