Decrease in fertile soils causes changes in production techniques
European University of Lefke (EUL), Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technologies Faculty Member Assst. Prof. Dr. İbrahim Kahramanoğlu drew attention to the importance of soil as part of World Soil Day.
Kahramanoğlu, drawing attention to the necessity of understanding what soil is, first of all, in order to better understand the importance of soil, said, “Soil; A vast world of living things (bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, earthworms, insects) consisting of decomposition products of various sizes of inorganic particles (rock, gravel, stone, sand, silt and clay) and organic materials (plant and animal residues) We can define it as a substance that contains plant seeds, plants, etc., and acts as a stall and food source for plants ”.
Kahramanoğlu, “500 years on average is required for 1 cm soil formation”
“In short, soil consists of mineral particles, organic matter, water and air. As we can understand from this definition, the soil is not just a simple substance that provides a stop for plants and us, it is an ecosystem in which millions of living creatures live and interact. ” He stated that it was an important system and therefore, even though “soil particles” are inanimate entities, “soil ecosystem” is often accepted as a living organism. Kahramanoğlu gave an example to his explanation and continued as follows; “An average of 500 billion bacteria live in 1 g of soil. On the other hand, the formation of soil, which we classify as “soil” and used in agricultural activities, from rocks is a process that takes centuries. Researches show that an average of 500 years is required for the formation of 1 cm soil ”.
Kahramanoğlu said, “As such, while the world population and the demand for food increase, on the other hand, the erosion, desertification and / or salinization of fertile soils emerge as a very important problem that threatens sustainability in the world. To give an example to better understand the subject, the land area lost in one year by erosion has the capacity to produce 1.5 times the total tomato need of the world ”.
- “Everything in nature has a perfect cycle / balance, and a false effect on this cycle causes a chain reaction. The decrease in fertile soils causes changes in production techniques; and it causes the need to produce more products from a less unit area, thus causing intensive agricultural activities. Stating that the uncontrolled increase in the use of inputs (pesticides, chemical fertilizers, energy and water) in production causes negative effects on the agricultural areas and the environment ”, Kahramanoğlu has listed these negativities under the following headings;
- Biodiversity loss
- Damage to the food cycle
- Increase in pest and disease populations
- Decrease in water quality and quantity
- Climate changes (global warming)
- Yield decrease and food security problem
- Residue problem threatening food safety
- Increase in human diseases
Kahramanoğlu, “an integrated approach to soil conservation needs to be followed”
For this reason, Kahramanoğlu stated that “the protection of the soil” cannot be achieved only by preventing soil erosion or preventing the soils from becoming arid, and underlining that a holistic approach should be followed, and listed his suggestions as follows:
- Agricultural lands should be evaluated according to their ability classes and plants should be grown in suitable soils (site-specific plant selection)
- Non-agricultural forest areas and pastures should be protected and green areas should be increased. Pastures should not be overgrazed.
- By alternating crops, the pressure of plants on the soil can be reduced, as well as increasing the yield by preventing the concentration of diseases and pests.
- Covering plant or green fertilization that protects the soil should be done.
- Terracing should be done in places where the slope is steep. Tillage should be done perpendicular to the slope.
- Surroundings of streams and dams should be afforested.
- Erosion of the soil should be prevented by producing products that do not interact with each other together.
- Windbreak trees should be planted in the fields where the winds are strong.
- Garden and field wastes should not be burned, suitable ones (those without disease and pest risk) should be composted.
- Integrated methods (prevention, mechanical, physical, chemical, biological, biotechnical, etc.) should be used together in pest and disease control.
- Irrigation efficiency / effectiveness should be increased. State-of-the-art methods can be used for this. (For example, automatic irrigation systems based on instant needs of plants, soil condition and climate data should be expanded)
Fertilization should be done in accordance with scientific data, not by rote, but by plant and soil analysis