Soil and Water - Previous Highlights

Pulses for a Sustainable Future. An event to celebrate the International Year of Pulses (2016) took place this week at the Vienna International Centre. The year 2016 was declared the International Year of Pulses by the 68th UN General Assembly to help raise public awareness of the nutritional benefits and the role of pulses in sustainable food production. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture organized this event to highlight the role of pulses in enhancing the sustainability of agricultural cropping systems. Read More / Watch Video »

How Nuclear Technology Helps Women Farmers in Sudan Move Out of Poverty. Using small scale drip irrigation system and information generated using nuclear techniques on crop water requirement, women farmers in rural Sudan were able to overcome water stress of growing vegetables. Read More »

Scientists Study Atoms in Soil to Find Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Balancing how fertilizer, water and soil are used with agricultural crops has proven useful for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that drive climate change and global warming. But striking an optimal balance requires understanding how these factors are influenced by different soil and environmental conditions as well as farm management practices. To help chart out ways to do that, scientists are using isotopic techniques to develop scientifically-based guidance that helps countries reduce and mitigate GHG emissions. Read More »

Nuclear Techniques: A solution to minimize land degradation and save the soil!. Land degradation is a worldwide threat currently affecting 1.9 billion hectares globally that affects around 65% of the soil resources. Soil erosion is the main contributor (85%) to such land degradation with an economic cost of US $400 billion per year. To ensure sustainable agricultural management there is a clear need to quantify the magnitude of soil erosion and to determine in the landscape ‘source’ of land degradation which can be obtained by nuclear techniques of fallout radionuclides (FRNs) and Compound Specific Stable Isotopes (CSSI) ... Read More »

2015 Country Impacts Highlights. During the past years the SWMCN has been working closely with counterparts and colleagues in Member States to generate a series of success stories on the use of isotopic and nuclear techniques in soil, water and nutrient management. These stories are achievement from both IAEA’s Coordinated Research Projects as well as Technical Cooperation Projects, showcasing how nuclear and related technologies are transferred to Member States for peaceful uses and the impacts obtained. Read More »

Vienna Soil Declaration - “Soil matters for humans and ecosystems”. The world’s highly diverse and dynamic soils provide essential functions and services vital equally to humans and ecosystems. This was the message at the celebration entitled “Achievements and Future Challenges” organised earlier this month by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the IAEA. At the event, IYS participants proclaimed the ‘Vienna Soil Declaration: Soil matters for humans and ecosystems’, which sets the framework for future research in soil science and links achievements to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and global endeavours to combat climate change. It sends a strong message for The Future We Want. Read More »

Celebration of the 2015 International Year of Soils: Achievements and Future Challenges. More than one hundred international specialists in soil and water will be gathering at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Vienna, Austria for an international conference to mark the closing of the “2015 International Year of Soils” and to share and discuss achievements and future challenges in soil science. The Conference is jointly organized by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture and the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), to coincide with World Soil Day on 5 December and to mark the closing of “2015 International Year of Soils”. Read More »

Greening Kenya’s Drylands Through Climate-smart Agriculture. In a country where suboptimal agricultural practices already result in poor crop growth, low vegetative cover, low crop yields and serious land degradation, weather conditions resulting from climate change and variability have made drought and water scarcity common. Read More »

Viet Nam Tackles Soil Erosion With Nuclear Techniques. Soil erosion is the main contributor to land degradation globally, leading to an annual loss of 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil, with an economic cost of about US $126 billion per year. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), helps scientists and farmers in measuring and controlling soil erosion through the use of various nuclear techniques. Read More »

Working for Better Soil on Earth: IAEA Celebrates Global Soil Week and the International Year of Soil. The international community is coming together today for Global Soil Week to emphasize the importance of land and soil and the role it plays in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This week, the IAEA is highlighting its work supporting Member States to address land and soil issues and is supporting the designation of 2015 as the United Nations International Year of Soil. Read More »

More Bountiful Crops With Every Drop Using Drip Irrigation in Mauritius. Cauliflower, broccoli, sweet pepper and many other nutritious vegetables used to be expensive in Mauritius. The island's climate and traditional agricultural practices were not suitable for cultivating several high value vegetable crops, while importing them to the island state was prohibitively costly due to the long distances involved. This has all changed over the past few years, and local farms are now starting to supply the country's growing population and burgeoning tourism industry with fresh, locally grown produce. Read More »

Rice production - what Cuba can teach the world. Cuba’s annual rice consumption is estimated as high as 60 kilograms per capita, meaning each person in the country eats more than a kilo of rice a week. To meet this demand, Cuba dedicates some 200 000 hectares (ha) of land to rice production, but, until recently, due to soil infertility and the high cost of chemical fertilizers, the yields were low and more than 55 per cent of the rice consumed was imported. Read More »

Chile: Developing soil conservation strategies. ... the intensification of commercial forest and agricultural production in southcentral Chile has increased soil erosion and associated water pollution due to sediment delivery from the vast disturbances caused by forest harvesting and replanting activities. A programme supported by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division and the Government of Chile, is using fallout radionuclides (FRNs) and compound specific stable isotope techniques to trace the sources of sediments, in an effort to further develop soil conservation strategies. Read More »

World Soil Day was celebrated on 5 December 2014 around the world and the focus was to communicate the importance of soil as a critical component of the eco system service provider, its contribution to food, water and energy security and human wellbeing, as a system for mitigating of biodiversity loss and climate change. The IAEA, through its Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture participated in this celebration. Over the years the Joint Division was instrumental to address soil fertility, quality and land degradation in order to improve crop productivity, ensure agriculture is resilient to impacts of climate change and reduce impacts of agriculture on climate change member states. Read More »

FAO/IAEA Proceedings of the International Symposium on “Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation”, is finally published. This publication is a compilation of selected papers presented during both oral and poster sessions at the International Symposium on “Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation”, organized by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture on 23-27 July, 2012. Read More »

Recent gathering on land and water management for climate-smart agriculture at the 2014 European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly. Read More »

Success stories in Climate-Smart Management Practices: Biosaline agriculture and biofertilizer for improving crop productivity in salt- affected soils and for reducing the use of inorganic fertilizer and greenhouse gas emission (GHG) in agriculture in Member States. Read More »

Climate Smart Agriculture. With the help of nuclear techniques, the IAEA helps countries “keep the soil alive” and adapt to the devastating effects of climate change. Read More »

Video - More Food With Better Soil - Using Isotope Techniques To Improve Soil Quality. Using Isotope Techniques To Improve Soil Quality. See Video »

Soil Isn’t Just Dirt. Conservation agriculture and nuclear science are two of the tools being used to improve food security by making soil more fertile. Read More »

Nuclear Techniques for Agricultural Water Management. Both crop and livestock production depends on the management of irrigation water and the soil on which crops or livestock are farmed. Find out more on what IAEA is helping Member States to improve water management in crop and livestock farming systems. Read More »

New development - eLearning course for increasing more crops per drop!. The eLearning course on "Soil Water Measurement for Better Crop Production and Improving Water Use Efficiency" has just been launched to help farm advisors, land users and policy-makers with practical ways to improve water use in both rainfed and irrigated agriculture. This course is available free-of-charge and covers a range of topics, from basic to advanced levels relating to soil water measuring techniques, irrigation scheduling and methods of improving water use efficiency. To register »

Improving land use and soil conservation in Tajikistan. Soil erosion and land degradation are a major threat to soil and water resources in Tajikistan, where only a small fraction of the land is suitable for agriculture. To ensure sustainable agricultural production, effective soil conservation and efficient land use are vital. A study of soil erosion rates under varying conditions has been conducted to assess the extent of the problem. Read More »

Increasing crop production and addressing soil degradation in Mali. Soil erosion and inappropriate farming activities have caused severe soil degradation and nutrient mining in Mali. Both soil degradation and nutrient mining impose high costs on farmers, as they have to purchase expensive, imported fertilizers to increase the performance of crops in these degraded soils. Read More »

Road to recovery: Protecting Chilean agriculture and environment
Wine production in Chile currently accounts for about 11.4% of the Gross National Product and is an important component of Chilean national economy. About 32,500 hectares are planted with vineyards in the VIth Region, south of Santiago. Full Story »

Turning Adversity into Opportunity: Farmers reaping the benefits from year-round production of income generating crops in Coastal Saline Lands of Bangladesh
Rice is the major crop grown in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Soil and water salinity is a major threat to crop productivity in these coastal areas. Full Story »

Coping with soil and water salinity for crop production in Algeria: A continuing effort of integrated land-water management approach
In Algeria desertification is putting extreme stress on irrigated agriculture due to the fast rate of soil and water salinization, resulting in the drastic reduction of arable land with productive agricultural potential. Full Story »

Adaptation to Climate Change with Improved Agricultural Water Management
As the water available for agriculture becomes limiting due to population growth, competition from other water users, drought and water quality degradation, it is important to ensure that every drop of water (either from rainfall and irrigation) counts for crop water use. Full Story »

Extracting Fertilizer from a Clear Blue Sky
Nitrogen fixation in cereals has been a dream of scientists and farmers for a long time. If rice, wheat and maize are able to fix all of their nitrogen from the atmosphere in the same manner as soybean, it would have major financial and environmental benefits for the agricultural community. Full Story »

Food security and sustainable agriculture: The answer is in the Soil-Tajikistan
For more than 50 years the Soil Science Research Institute (Academy of Science) has been actively involved in efforts to combat soil erosion and land degradation in Tajikistan. Full Story »

Improving Agricultural Water Management for Crop Productivity in Africa
Agriculture is the largest consumer of water; accounting for over 70% of the world's freshwater diversion. However, only a part of this agricultural water diverted is effectively used in the production of food or other agricultural commodities and the remaining does not reach the crop/plants ... Full Story »

Soil Management and Conservation for Sustainable Agriculture and Environment
Nuclear techniques provide essential and value added information and technology for defining and alleviating constraints to intensify and diversify farming systems while ensuring the sustainable use and management of land and water resources ... Full Story »

Technologies and Practices for Sustainable Use and Management of Water in Agriculture
With increasing water shortages in many parts of the world, the SWMCN Subprogramme aims at developing isotope based methodologies to measure and improve crop water productivity (more crops per drop) Full Story »

Integrated Soil-plant Approaches to Increase Crop Productivity in Harsh Environments
The impacts of increased droughts, salinity and nutrient deficiencies are serious threat to the production of the major world food crops (wheat, rice and maize). Degraded and marginal lands (harsh environments) are the results of ... Full Story »

Promoting Sustainable Intensification of Agricultural Dryland Production and Combating Desertification in the Sahel
Four West African Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal) and two East African countries (Kenya and Tanzania) joined efforts in a cooperative venture under the IAEA regional TC project RAF/5/048 to combate desertification in dryland agriculture. Full Story »

Saving Millions of Tons of Agricultural Topsoil in China and Enhancing Livelihoods and Water Quality
China is one of the countries suffering from the most serious soil erosion in the world. IAEA-funded projects conducted in the Loess Plateau (Nianzhuang watershed), Northern China (Fengning site) and North Eastern China (Baiquan site). Full Story »

Sustainable Land Use and Water Management on Reducing Soil Erosion & Improving Soil and Water Quality
The applications of nuclear techniques have significantly achieved social and economical benefits when soil erosion is reduced, as observed in the recently completed regional project RAS5039 in East Asia and the Pacific region on developing sustainable land and water management strategies using fallout radionuclides for reducing soil erosion and improving soil and water quality. Full Story »

More Crop per Drop and Better Environment
The Nigde-Nevsehir Region in Turkey accounts for more than 1/3 of Turkey's potato production (1.2 million tons). Sprinkler and basin irrigation systems have been used for potato growing in the past in this light-textured soil region. Full Story »

Combating Desertification in Agricultural Drylands
Agricultural dry lands constitute approximately 42% of the total arable land in Zimbabwe. However, large proportions of these dry lands are subject to various degrees of land degradation, which reduces the social and biological potential of the land and increases the effects of desertification. Full Story »

Chile´s Blueberries Bloom
The next time you bite into a juicy blueberry, chances are it comes from Chile, the world's third biggest producer. It might even be grown using IAEA "know-how" that is helping Chile´s farmers use less water and fertilizer, stop soil degradation and boost harvests. Full Story »

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