ICBA Scientists Celebrate World Soil Day
The importance of soil as a critical component of good landscape management through its contribution to food, water and energy security and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss, competing demands for resources and climate change was stressed by Dr Ismahane Elouafi, ICBA Director General, at the ICBA celebrations for the inaugural World Soil Day on 5 December 2012. Dr Elouafi explained that the concept behind the launch of World Soil Day and its current theme, Soil for Life, arose from the land and soil related decisions from theJune 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD Rio+20). Dedicating a day to the UAE’s valuable natural resource which underpins the productivity of agriculture provides scientists with the opportunity to engage the community.
Dr Mohamed Amrani, ICBA Director Research and Innovation added to Dr Elouafi’s comments that sustainable management of the United Arab Emirate’s natural resources through taking an integrated approach to landscape management is critical. ICBA has played a major role in ensuring this sustainable management through its collaboration with Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and GRM International in a four year study to survey the soils of Abu Dhabi Emirate. The study included field surveys, collection of soil samples, preparation of soil and thematic maps, capacity building and the development of an integrated Abu Dhabi Soil Information System. This system facilitates easy access to soil data thus enabling informed decision-making for researchers, policy makers, agriculturalists and farmers in the development and management of land in the Emirate.
An animated film Let’s Talk About Soil by designer and animator Uli Streckenbach in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German, which was released at the Global Soil Week (18-22 November) in Berlin Germany was shown as part of the celebrations. www.globalsoilweek.org The event concluded with a presentation Linking Soils to Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security-Gulf States Perspectives by Dr Shabbir Shahid, ICBA Salinity Management Scientist, who outlined the status of soil and water resources in the Gulf States, the challenges of climate change, and alternative ways to achieve food security in the Gulf States.