Conclusions

An increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other GHGs is likely to cause regional and global climate change. Temperature increases are likely to be more accentuated at higher than at lower latitudes and to have an evident impact on precipitation and its distribution. The frequency of extreme events may increase with global warming, and projected climate change is likely to affect soil quality. In some cases, water and wind erosion of soils and salinization may be accelerated. In other situations, there may be improvement in soil biological activity, improvement in the SOC pool, and strengthening of the elemental cycling mechanisms. Crop yields may also be affected. Modest temperature increases of up to +2°C may have positive impacts on crop yields in middle and high-middle latitudes, but negative impacts on crop yields in lower latitudes and in semi-arid climates. In contrast, a temperature increase of +4°C may have clear adverse effects on all crop yields, especially in developing countries.

Improving soil quality through soil C sequestration is a win-win strategy for both adaptive and mitigative options. Estimates of the potential of SOC sequestration range from 1 Pg C/year to 2.5 Pg C/y. The attainable potential may be modest in developing countries with many resource-poor farmers. Yet, it appears that some and maybe many of the adverse impacts of projected climate change on food security can be kept in check by enhancing the quality and quantity of the SOC pool by restoring degraded soils and ecosystems and adopting RMPs on agricultural soils.

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