‘Global Status of Black Soil’ report released
- Recently the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released a report titled “Global Status of Black Soil”.
- As per reports, black soil is rich in minerals. Its upper surface is black and it is rich in organic carbon. This carbon is at least 25 cm. It reaches deep.
- The black color of this soil is the result of the accumulation of organic matter, which is produced by the decay of herbaceous vegetation. This process of becoming black is called melanization.
Status of Black Soil:
- Black soils cover 725 million hectares of land worldwide, which is 5.6 percent of global soils. Also, it contains 8.2 percent of the world’s soil organic carbon (SOC).
- The extent of black soil in India is mostly on the Lava Plateau of Deccan and Malwa Plateau. In the country, this soil is found in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
Threats to Black Soil
- Organic matter is getting depleted in black soil. This is happening due to continuous mismanagement of agricultural activities on black soil and conversion of natural land into agricultural land.
- Wind erosion is a particular problem in black soils of former grasslands. This is because these types of soils are naturally susceptible to high rates of wind erosion in dry climates.
- Natural vegetation cover should be preserved on black soil under grassland, forest and wetland vegetation.
- There is a need to adopt sustainable soil management system for black soil under agriculture.
- Black soil is rich in organic matter, thick and dark in colour.
- It is found in Russia (327 million hectares), Kazakhstan (108 million hectares), China (50 million hectares), Argentina, Mongolia, Ukraine etc.
- Black soil is extremely fertile and can produce high agricultural yields due to its high moisture storage capacity.
- Black soil is rich in iron, lime, calcium, potassium, aluminum and magnesium but deficient in nitrogen, phosphorous.
Usefulness of black soil for the environment
- Soil is helpful in organic carbon sequestration.
- Maintains soil biodiversity.
- Maintains fertility.
- Reduces water logging and soil compaction.
- Helps in making soil drought and flood tolerant.
- Balances greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- Reduces global warming.
- Soil has a high potential for organic carbon (SOC) storage.
Source – The Hindu