Climate-Smart Soil Management

On this World Soil Day, soil security and productivity are attracting global attention and spotlight, in the context of global food security and climate change. By 2050, the global demand for food will increase more than 60% above the current situation, which is driven by global population increase and demographic change as well as increasing global wealth. This is against the backdrop of unprecedented climate change, which is a major threat to global food security. Climate change is projected to intensify in the coming decades, with a drier future for most of the terrestrial ecosystems, while water is becoming more scarce as populations increase. This, together with the increasing frequencies and intensities of climate extremes associated with climate change and more potential global pandemics, has posed a major threat to global food security.

There is increasing evidence of accelerating water and nutrient (particularly nitrogen) limitations in most terrestrial ecosystems in the context of intensifying climate change and land degradation. Urgent attention and efforts would be required to develop and implement climate-smart soil management regimes which could improve and indeed increase ecosystem water and nutrient use efficiencies in the context of warmer and drier future climate as well as increasing climate extremes. Development and application of innovative and cost-effective biochar-based solutions and technologies offer a great potential to address the global challenges of increasing food security with future climate-smart soil management (such as innovative biochar-based solutions and technologies), and combating climate change by restoring ecosystem functions and services in the coming decades.      

© SpringerIn conclusion, the unprecedented climate change, particularly global warming, has devastatingly disrupted the most important hydrological cycle from local to global scale with warmer and drier climate as well as increasing climate extremes, which have resulted in increasing water and nitrogen limitations, and subsequently decreasing ecosystem carbon sequestration and a positive feedback to climate change. The urgent and effective development and application of climate-smart soil management practices are required for ensuring soil, water, and food security while combating climate change by restoring and increasing carbon stocks in terrestrial ecosystems. Global soil scientists and the scientific communities can and will rise to such global challenges. The Journal of Soils and Sediments (JSS) is also doing its parts in this regard.        

JSS recently celebrated its 20th anniversary since the first issue was published in March 2001. In 2019, JSS published 343 citable items (according to the database of Web of Science), which is ranked 4/38 soil science journals, just after Geoderma (641, 1/38), Catena (521, 2/38) and Plant and Soil (428, 3/38); and citable items of 2017 and 2018 for calculating the 2019 impact factor (IF) for JSS are 561, which is ranked 6/38 soil science journals, just after Geoderma (818, 1/38), Plant and Soil (814, 2/38), Catena (766, 3/38), Soil Biology and Biochemistry (658, 4/38), and Land Degradation and Development (614, 5/38). The 2019 IF of JSS is 2.763, another increase against 2018 IF of 2.669, and indeed the 8th increase in a row since 2011. JSS is expected to publish more than 350 citable items in 2020. We welcome new ideas for any review articles, special issues and original research articles pertaining to soils and sediments. Read our collection of authoritative review articles published in the past 5 years (free access offered through 20 January 2021).   

Zhihong Xu portrait © SpringerDr Zhihong Xu has been Professor in Soil-Plant Systems with School of Environment and Science since 2004, and Director of Environmental Futures Research Institute since 2009, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He has over 28 years of experience working on biogeochemical processes of carbon and nutrients in terrestrial ecosystems from agricultural, agroforestry, horticultural, and forest ecosystems in Australia, China, Europe, and the USA. He has served as the Chair for the Forest Soils Working Group of the International Union of Soil Science since 2006 and as coEditor-in-Chief of JSS since 2005.

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