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Infographic: Why is soil so important?

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Soil is the foundation of all life on Earth – without it, we couldn’t grow the food we need to live. But it’s at risk from many different threats. So, we’re doing everything we can to help growers protect it.

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Infographic: Why is soil so important?

  1. 1. Bedrock Why is soil so important? Soil is the foundation of all life on Earth – without it, we couldn’t grow the food we need to live. But it’s at risk from many different threats. So, we’re doing everything we can to help growers protect it. What is soil? 45% Mineral matter 25% Water 25% Air 5% Organic matter It’s porous Pore spaces in soil absorb air and water, and deliver nutrients to plants It’s alive One spoonful of healthy soil can contain 1 billion bacteria and other organisms It’s nutrient-rich Nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients are vital for plant nutrition Organic matter Parent rock Subsoil Topsoil Fertile, healthy soil is essential for agriculture and food security. Sustainable intensification of agriculture is needed to produce more food on less land. Improving yields allows us to grow more food, using less land. Of the 1.6 billion hectares used to grow crops: Why do we need soil? 1.3 billion people live off the land Nearly 1 in 5 people on Earth produce food & other agricultural products for the rest of the world. 15% Europe 17% Africa 39% Asia Pacific 15% North America 10% Latin America 4% Middle East 1980 Now 88% 12% Annual output of grain per hectare 13 billion hectares of total land on Earth Only 12% of land is suitable for agricultural use 2.3 tons 3.6 tons Threats to soil health Threats to soil health Water erosion Wind erosion Desertification Compaction Loss of organic matter Urbanization 40% of the world’s farmland is considered degraded 40% Nature takes 500 years to replace 25 mm of lost soil 1second 500years Every second, we lose a soccer field of farmland An estimated 7.3M hectares of forest are lost each year (that’s about the size of Ireland) 7.3m What are the challenges? Erosion, degradation, poor soil management, desertification and urbanization are serious threats to land and soil. If we don’t protect soil health, our ability to grow food and sustain life will suffer. Poor soil management Excessive tillage makes soil susceptible to erosion. It also releases stored carbon into the atmosphere. Monoculture can deplete soils of nutrients and limits the types of healthy organisms living in soil. 10.3 mil. ha (please correct figure & format) 58.3 mil. ha (please correct format) 51.4 mil. ha (please correct format) 24.5 mil. ha (please correct format) figure and ‘mil’ Syngenta works with growers to help them restore the fertility of the soil they farm. What is Syngenta doing to help? Conservation tillage Reduce unnecessary soil disturbance by no-tilling techniques, and by planting into the residues of a previous crop. Permanent cover Cover crops protect soil from exposure to extreme weather conditions and provide a better environment for soil organisms. Crop rotation Rotating crops helps soil develop new and diverse organisms, and keep a balance of nutrients. Technology The best combination of seeds, crop protection and machinery to support the adoption of different soil management practices. Training Sharing knowledge with farmers about best practices and the latest findings in soil and water conservation. Diagnostics Identifying the key impact factors for different soil types and cropping systems, to adapt management to local conditions. Sustainable soil practices Implementation through Learn more at www.goodgrowthplan.com We’ve committed to improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland on the brink of degradation as part of The Good Growth Plan. How big is 10 million hectares? Iceland 10.3 mil. ha. Kenya 58.3 mil. ha. Thailand 51.4 mil. ha. UK 24.5 mil. ha. As a result… soil 4. 3. 2. 1. Provides higher yields in the long term Requires fewer passes with farm machinery using less fuel and labor Retains more moisture for crops Has more organic matter Less soil loss, higher yields Every year, potato farmers in Colombia’s Cundinamarca region can lose around 20 tons of soil per hectare. But when trained in conservation tillage techniques, crop protection and sustainable practices, these growers can reduce soil loss by 67% and sustain 25–30% higher yields. 67% reduced soil loss 25% Increased yield Growth by 2030 15–20% © 2014 Syngenta AG, Switzerland References A Guide to Our Industry in 2014 http://www.nxtbook.com/syngenta/Our_industry/Our-industry-2014 FAO http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/a0413e/a0413E12.htm FAO STAT http://faostat.fao.org/site/550/default.aspx#ancor Pimentel D, Pimentel M; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Vol. 78, Issue 3, p. 660S-663S (September 2003) UNCCD http://www.unccd.int/Lists/SiteDocumentLibrary/Rio+20/UNCCD_ PolicyBrief_ZeroNetLandDegradation.pdf USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service http://nerrs.noaa.gov/doc/siteprofile/acebasin/html/envicond/soil/slform.htm USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/soils/health/ biology/?cid=nrcs142p2_053862