SA expert highlights plight of global soil

2013-11-05 10:31

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - A South African soil scientist has highlighted the plight of global soil quality in a study published in the prestigious journal Science.

According to Prof Mary Scholes, researcher at Wits University, the major threats involve land use practises like overgrazing and continuous use of the land without replenishing nutrients.

“Cultivating soil continuously for too long destroys the bacteria which convert the organic matter into nutrients,” she said.

Scholes said that sustainable soil quality could be achieved through a balance of new technologies and changes in behaviour and attitudes.

“The technologies will include the use of inorganic and organic fertilisers as well as the benefits of plant breeding and selecting the right varieties of seeds to plant for the changing environmental, economic and social conditions,” she said.

“Attitudes and behaviours will need to change; otherwise the planet will not be able to meet our needs.”

In Africa, where much of the future growth in agriculture must take place, erosion has reduced yields by 8% and nutrient depletion is widespread.

“Africa will suffer in the next 50 years in terms of warming climates and reduced rainfall. The technologies exist which will allow us to adapt and mitigate - we need the will and an enabling environment across the region to make us food secure.”
Read more on:    environment

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.