Food security and sustainable livelihoods through soil restoration, climate change adaptation and mitigation to rejuvenate landscape ecosystem
Soil is very important resource to provide ecosystem services in human life. The major challenges impacting sustainable development are food insecurity, ecological degradation, high climate risks, lack of know-how about soil health and low crop yields. The resultant effects are poverty, massive unemployment, labour migration, regional and inter regional disparities, degradation of natural resources and ecosystems. Soil organic carbon plays a vital role in world food production and in climate change mitigation. BAIF, a non-government organization in India, has been addressing these issues through holistic approach along with farmer sensitization successfully in various states of India.
The objective is food security through soil restoration, climate change adaptation and mitigation to rejuvenate landscape ecosystem for sustainable livelihood. Scientific and innovative solutions are applied in addressing local needs to improve productivity, minimize risks of climate change, conserve biodiversity and undertake integrated actions to neutralize land degradation through involvement of community. Specific Objectives 1. Increase Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) stocks through convergent actions to enhance soil productivity on sustainable basis. 2. Minimize emissions (CO2, N2O etc.) from soil through measures of climate change mitigation and build resilience to adapt climate change. 3. Rejuvenate landscape ecosystem through participatory approach and standardize practices of soil restoration for its replication in analogous regions.
The programme increases national food production directly contributing to SDG1 and 2. The improvement in SOC stocks improves carbon stocks to contribute to SDG13. Increased use of organic inputs in agroecosystem contributes SDG 3. Land degradation neutrality measures restores ecosystems contributing to SDG 15. The practice includes integration of various measures related to Soil Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, Climate Change adaptation and mitigation, Land Degradation Neutrality and Biodiversity. The partnerships with development agencies and research institutes contributes to SDG 17.
The approach of integrated soil fertility improvement consists of following practices. 1. Integrated Soil Restoration Measures (ISRM): The measures are promoting composting, green manuring, biomass recycling, nutrient cycle optimization, use of biological inputs, application of farm yard manure, BIO PROM and bio char. It also consists of sensitization through advisories. 2. Carbon Sequestration Actions to Adapt and Mitigate Climate Change: Carbon sequestration was achieved by systematic plantation of Agri-horti-forestry (Wadi: Tree based farming system) and agro forestry on low productive lands. Wadi, is one-acre plantation of 2-3 fruit species and forestry along the border combined with annual crops. 3. Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Measures: Watershed development work carried out to undertake repair and maintenance of erosion control measures through participatory approach, promote field runoff control measures (masonry field outlets) and water harvesting measures to catch the rain water for future use. 4. Climate Smart Actions (CSA): The smart practices include use of climate smart varieties and microbial consortia, integrated nutrient and pest-disease management, solar powered pumps, improved methods for crop cultivation, cropping pattern in different land use system, mulching and micro irrigation techniques and agronomic measures for conserving soil and water. 5. Biodiversity actions: The interventions were minimization of ecosystem degradation and conservation of local species suitable to existing agro climatic conditions, integrating crop and livestock farming, agro ecological interventions focusing crop and soil microbial diversity. The agro ecological interventions understanding crop diversity, flora and fauna diversity and improving the productivity.
Following are the outcomes • The improvement of soil organic carbon and carbon sequestration leads to the mitigation of climate change impacts. The agro-horti-forestry system (wadi) is a carbon sink in plants biomass and soil. The total above and below-ground biomass in a 10-year-old wadi (Indian gooseberry or Mango) had 23 t ha-1 of carbon equivalent of 84.67 t CO2 ha-1. • The rejuvenation of degraded land improves the productivity. • Improvement of biodiversity and rehabilitation of soil leads to improvement in ecosystem services. • Environmental impact: The conservation of natural resources is achieved mainly through increase in vegetation cover, water availability and reduction in soil degradation. This has positive impact on sustainable livelihood. • Social impact: Ensured food and nutritional security for the participants. Knowledge and skills of participants were improved. • Economical impact: Crop yields and income were increased.
Enabling factors: The factors are positive change in income from the adoption of practice, Willingness, approach of community involvement and transparency in the implementation process. Constraint: Climate risks and Participant’s adherence to traditional practices resulting in non-acceptance to best practice and market situation.
The practice has high potential of replicability as it deals with improvement in sustainable access to income, food, water and supports to improve soil health. The practice is being replicated through various programmes by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in India. It has potential of replication in areas where low productive lands and waste lands results in the vulnerability of rural community to climate change impacts and also degradation of lands. The sustainability is being achieved by ensuring the participation of local institutes like farmer producer organisation, village development committees and women groups.
COVID-19 has impacted a lot in last year mainly due to restrictions of the movement during the lockdown period. It has adversely affected the supply chains and access to market. The practices have helped ensuring access to food and nutrition by communities even during COVID-19 episode. In order to build back better support to these vulnerable families mainly in terms of linkages with government schemes, provide support for agronomical practices and generation of awareness on safety was of utmost importance.
SDGS & Targets
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Deliverables & Timeline
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The practice is implemented currently in various states of India