Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘land use’

YESTERDAY Was World Soil Day 2014

Posted by feww on December 6, 2014

CRITICALLY LOW LEVELS of Topsoil Have Already Been Reached: FIRE-EARTH, EDRO

Did you know?

Soil is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being. It is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity. Soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts. The largest store of terrestrial carbon is in the soil so that its preservation may contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met. FAO

And now, the rest of the story:

Topsoil

[The following was published by our colleagues at EDRO on February 18, 2008. Reprinted with permission from EDRO. ]

No Good for Farming!

“A [farmer] took up land [in Saskatchewan], dug a cellar and built a frame house on top of it; ploughed up the prairie and grew wheat and oats. After 20 years he decided the country was no good for farming, for eight feet of his soil had gone and he had to climb up into his house.” —Richard St. Barbe Baker, My Life, My Trees [Quoted by John Jeavons in How to Grow More Vegetables]

Land Use And Topsoil

once-a-forest.jpg
Once A Forest!
Photo credit: UNEP

Topsoil

Measuring an average of about 6.6 inches (16.76 centimeters) deep, topsoil is the upper layer of earth’s crust. Topsoil comprises of a mix of humus, mineral and composted materials giving rise to most of the soil’s biological activity and supplying nutrients to plants and therefore to animals. After air and water, topsoil is Earth’s most vital resource.

Topsoil: Wild Facts

topsoil-af8.png
Table TS1. Topsoil: Wild Facts
Note: The average bulk density of topsoil is calculated at about 1.4 gcm
-3

Causes of soil degradation

  • Soil erosion, salination, deforestation, overexploitation for fuelwood, overgrazing, nutrient depletion, large scale agricultural activities, industrialization and desertification.
  • The rate of degradation is increased exponentially against large scale agriculture.
  • Severe loss of arable land is affecting our ability to feed the world population.
  • Soil degradation is occurring globally, both in poor and wealthy countries.

Land Use and Degradation

soil-land-degradation-s.jpg
Table TS2. Earth: Land use and degradation

Note: The estimates for Biologically Productive Land are from a 2002 FAO report: The State of Food and Agriculture FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS Rome, 2005, ISBN 92-5-105349-9

References [accessed February 1-17, 2008]

Posted in Global Disaster watch, News Alert | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

6 of One Fuel, Half Dozen of the Other

Posted by feww on March 11, 2010

Needed a sophisticated new analysis to tell you?

More maize ethanol may boost greenhouse gas emissions

New economic analysis confirms that maize-based biofuel is unlikely to reduce global production of carbon dioxide


Ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa.

Public release
American Institute of Biological Sciences

In the March issue of BioScience, researchers present a sophisticated new analysis of the effects of boosting use of maize-derived ethanol on greenhouse gas emissions. The study, conducted by Thomas W. Hertel of Purdue University and five co-authors, focuses on how mandated increases in production of the biofuel in the United States will trigger land-use changes domestically and elsewhere. In response to the increased demand for maize, farmers convert additional land to crops, and this conversion can boost carbon dioxide emissions.

The analysis combines ecological data with a global economic commodity and trade model to project the effects of US maize ethanol production on carbon dioxide emissions resulting from land-use changes in 18 regions across the globe. The researchers’ main conclusion is stark: these indirect, market-mediated effects on greenhouse gas emissions “are enough to cancel out the benefits the corn ethanol has on global warming.”

The indirect effects of increasing production of maize ethanol were first addressed in 2008 by Timothy Searchinger and his coauthors, who presented a simpler calculation in Science. Searchinger concluded that burning maize ethanol led to greenhouse gas emissions twice as large as if gasoline had been burned instead. The question assumed global importance because the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act mandates a steep increase in US production of biofuels over the next dozen years, and certifications about life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions are needed for some of this increase. In addition, the California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard requires including estimates of the effects of indirect land-use change on greenhouse gas emissions. The board’s approach is based on the work reported in BioScience.

Hertel and colleagues’ analysis incorporates some effects that could lessen the impact of land-use conversion, but their bottom line, though only one-quarter as large as the earlier estimate of Searchinger and his coauthors, still indicates that the maize ethanol now being produced in the United States will not significantly reduce total greenhouse gas emissions, compared with burning gasoline. The authors acknowledge that some game-changing technical or economic development could render their estimates moot, but sensitivity analyses undertaken in their study suggest that the findings are quite robust.

Posted in biofuels, California Air Resources Board, carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions, US production of biofuels | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »