UNCCD CoP 14: Report on Soil Organic Carbon released

Soil Organic Carbon, which is the plant and animal tissues at various states of decomposition in the soil, is a yardstick for sustainable land management, experts state at event

By Ishan Kukreti
Published: Tuesday 03 September 2019
Photo: Getty Images

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)’s Committee on Science and Technology (CST) on September 3, 2019, released its report on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) in New Delhi.

Titled Realising the Carbon Benefits of Sustainable Land Management Practices: Guidelines for Estimation of Soil Organic Carbon in the Context of Land Degradation Neutrality Planning and Monitoring, the report emphasises the importance of SOC in preventing land degradation and desertification.

“SOC is pivotal in providing multifaceted benefits. It combats droughts, reduces soil diseases and soil compacting and helps in organic production,” lead author of the report, Ermias Aunekulu, said.

Aunekulu, who is part of CST's Science Policy Interface team, added that the right approach to preserve SOC was to, “do the right thing at the right place”.

SOC is the plant and animal tissues at various states of decomposition in the soil.

“Because of its multifunctional roles and its sensitivity to land management, SOC is one of the three global indicators of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). Hence, predicting and monitoring change in SOC is vital to achieving LDN targets,” the report said.

While acknowledging the importance of SOC, the CST also said that unlike land use changes, which can easily be monitored through satellite imagery, monitoring SOC was a difficult process.

“In the report, we have come up with guidelines on how to monitor SOC and hopefully, the member parties will use them in their LDN targets,” Aunekulu said.

The report was part of a decision taken at the CoP 13 of UNCCD, which asked CST to provide refined guidance for the implementation of LDN.

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