agroforst 1199


verdoerrte ErdeThe threat of global climate change causing negative impact on agricultural systems worldwide has long been discussed. Changes in the key climatic variables rainfall and temperature are said to have the potential to affect agricultural production and food security both globally and locally. Of course the effects of changes in climate on crop yields are likely to vary greatly from region to region, and large and far-reaching effects are predominantly expected in tropical zones of the developing world. Expected hazards include increased flooding, greater frequency and severity of droughts and excessive heat conditions, all of which can limit crop growth and yields severely.

However also German farmers are worried by eytreme weather events. Rainer Vogel, Naturland farmer from Nidderau in Hesse, in the middle of Germany reports the driest spring in the Wetterau region since the beginning of weather records. Combined with the hot July this weather causes harvests, depending on the soil quality and soil compaction, to vary between good average to total failure. One more reason for organic farmers to take even more care for their soils. "The more extreme weather we are experiencing, the more we have to pay attention to our soils," says Naturland famer and representative in Hesse, Christoph Förster. An elaborate crop rotation system and the use of soil-conserving technologies help to build up humus and improve soil structure. Plants with different rooting depth and earthworms loosen the soil so that water can penetrate better and is kept even longer. Giving plants a chance to reach water resources also from deeper soil layers, thus counteracting the effects of such extreme weather events. Monocultures and narrow crop rotations result in soil depletion.
"We need healthy soils to achieve our food security and nutrition goals, to fight climate change and to ensure overall sustainable development." José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General on December 2014 when launching the International Year of Soils