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The risks of soil degradation and desertification in the European Mediterranean can be more serious than realization

Credit: KTH Royal Institute of Technology

The Mediterranean countries of Europe produce a significant portion of the world’s wines, olives, nuts and tomatoes. However, research has shown that farms and orchards in the region are the most susceptible to soil degradation and desertification in Europe.


In agricultural studies and data analysis of 12 European countries along the Mediterranean coast, researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Stockholm University and the Navalino Environmental Observatory in Greece found that the Mediterranean region was the highest overall. Did. soil Erosion rates in Europe, lowest levels of soil organic matter, serious salting problems.

The survey results have been published at Comprehensive environmental science..

Due to human-generated pressure and global warming, some soils in the Mediterranean region of Europe are what researchers call “the limits of their ability to provide ecosystem services,” especially including agriculture and carbon absorption. Is reaching.

Perhaps more annoyingly, the problem can be even more extensive than we are aware of, says Zahra Kalantari, an associate professor at KTH, co-author of the study.

Soil degradation is a multifaceted problem, physical, chemical, Biological process, And there is a large gap in understanding the depth and extent of the threat, the authors report.Although some studies have investigated the economic impact of reduced crop yields caused by Soil erosionThere remains a lack of economic assessment of the impact of other soil degradation processes in the Mediterranean, says Karantari.

Researchers have mainly found erosion, reduced organic matter and biodiversity, pollution, salt damage, sealing (for example, as a result of the construction of roads and buildings) and compression from agricultural machinery and animals.

Many of the physical, chemical and biological degradation processes are well documented, but other processes, such as the loss of soil biodiversity, are undocumented. Abundant organisms and species (such as worms and ants) that provide biodiversity and enrich the soil are under threat of depletion. organic matterPesticides and pollution from urban and industrial areas, consolidation and erosion, she says.

According to Karantari, the threat to the soil cannot be addressed without better information about where, when and how these processes are taking place.

This study recommends editing soil assessments that “provide comparable datasets within a harmonious and continuous monitoring system.”

“A coordinated network is needed to investigate soil biodiversity and assess its spatial and temporal trends as a means of preventing future degradation of the Mediterranean region,” says Karantari.


Corn Belt farmland has lost one-third of its carbon-rich soil


For more information:
Carla SS Ferreira et al, Soil Degradation in the Mediterranean Region of Europe: Processes, Situations, Results, Comprehensive environmental science (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.scitotenv.2021.150106

Quote: The risk of soil degradation and desertification in the European Mediterranean was obtained from https: //phys.org/news/2022-02-soil-degradation-desertification-europe-mediterranean on February 17, 2022 (realization) May be more serious than (February 17, 2022) .html

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The risks of soil degradation and desertification in the European Mediterranean can be more serious than realization

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