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First Soil Atlas of Africa Underscores Role in Carbon Cycle and Food Security

soil-atlas-africa26 April 2013: The first comprehensive assessment of soils across the African continent has been released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the European Commission, the African Union (AU) and other international partners.

In addition to the relevance of soil types, the Atlas describes the threats to soil and steps being taken to protect soils. The EC highlights the importance of knowledge of soils for sustainable development, food security, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The Atlas underscores the role of soil in storing organic matter, water and carbon, as well as the importance of avoiding deforestation. It notes that 50% of Africa's soils are sandy, shallow and stony, or young and weakly developed, highlighting that the low productivity of African soils is due to erosion and nutrient depletion. The work will be followed up by a follow up pan-African assessment on the state of soil resources to be launched at a conference of the African Soil Science Society in Kenya in October 2013. [EC Press Release] [Publication: Soil Atlas of Africa]