Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Declaration on Soils from the BOKU Vienna Workshop

The Austrian Academy of Sciences and BOKU – the University of Bodenkultur (Soil Conservation) sponsored the 2007 Kerner von Marilaun Workshop in Vienna, Austria, entitled, “The Challenge of Sustaining Soils: Lessons from Historical Experience for a Sustainable Future.”

The workshop produced a declaration on soils that states, “We are in the midst of a dramatic acceleration of agricultural change as the world strives to meet the food and energy needs of a growing population within the framework of resource limitations and the desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In its scope and size the challenge is comparable to the transformation of agriculture which took place as part of the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century and its extension by the introduction of synthetic fertilizer and pesticides during the twentieth century.”

The declaration goes on to state, “Human impacts on soils are complex and site specific; resulting in pressures on biodiversity, water availability and quality, and the atmosphere. Our rapidly increasing needs for food and energy place growing and conflicting demands on soil. Development issues, food security, nature conservation, our dependence on fossil fuels, social inequality, and armed conflict, all have a bearing on soils.”

The full declaration is available here:

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