44-4 Soil Science: a Perspective From Latinoamerica.

See more from this Division: Z01 Z Series Special Sessions
See more from this Session: Soil Science Meeting Societal Needs and Challenges: Global and Regional Perspectives
Monday, October 17, 2011: 2:45 PM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 214D
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Gerardo Rubio, Faculty of Agronomy (UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina
Food and energy security, climate change, water supply and environmental quality constitute the greatest challenge of the global community. Most of the issues related to these challenges rely, ultimately, on the soil resource. Since the beginning of the humanity, soils had the role of sustaining the pyramid of food production. More recently, the squeeze of petroleum-based energy has prompted the development of biofuels, which are produced by plants growing in the soil. Soil may also have an essential role to mitigate climate change effects: it has been recognized the potential of soils to sequester carbon at low cost. The global community is looking to agriculture to provide these needs but probably is not aware enough about the fragility of the soil resource. Soil scientists perceive a lack of emphasis on the execution and development of management practices for protecting this very delicate resource. An unsatisfactory answer to this question is the fact that soil degradation is usually a slow (but in most cases irreversible) process and that this process is invisible to the eye. Latino America participates in all these global changes but in a very diverse manner. In the region coexist net food importers and two of the biggest world food exporters: Brazil and Argentina. In terms of energy, the needs of bio-based fuels vary over the Region. Whereas some of the Latin-American countries have their energy needs covered by oil and are net exporters (typically Venezuela and Mexico), others spend much of their money in importing oil. In terms of global change, the destruction of the Amazonian forests is a major world issue, not only because they are a major source of greenhouse gases, but also because it also reduces their intrinsic capacity to help buffer the rapid anthropogenic rise in CO2. By understanding the intrinsic diversity of the Latino American Region we will be able to identify emerging research opportunities and contribute to meet the social needs with the best management practices for protecting the soil resource.
See more from this Division: Z01 Z Series Special Sessions
See more from this Session: Soil Science Meeting Societal Needs and Challenges: Global and Regional Perspectives