Soil, water and food security are highly interlinked. Good soil quality, healthy soil, is one of the most important foundations for food production and our survival. Shrinking soil resources, whilst food demands rapidly increase, are one of the big challenges we will face and have to address.
Switch on your loudspeakers/headset for this interactive multimedia lecture, which consists of 4 parts. At the end of the lecture, you have a chance to test your knowledge in the lecture quiz.
Background on the Soil, Water and Food Security Nexus
The complex interactions and interdependencies increase between soil, water and food security. Actions in one area usually have profound impacts on other ones. Nexus frameworks look at these interdependencies, however, this lecture concentrates on the soil component.
You learn general concepts related to soil health and define healthy soil. Soil degradation spreads and soil quality varies vastly worldwide. Therefore, a classification of soil degradation is necessary to map the degradation degree specifically. The first lecture discusses also the interconnections between agro-chemical agriculture and soil quality. Then, the second part illustrates the humus ecosystem in detail. Animals are part of the ecosystem with a the soil food web benefiting of a healthy humus ecosystem. Agricultural practices rebuilding and working with a healthy humus ecosystem are introduced like organic agriculture, agroforestry, rainwater harvesting and keyline systems. Additional aspects of regenerative agriculture, such as the building of humus, the potential role of mycorrhiza fungi, or avoidance of tillage practices are discussed, among other. Finally, Part 4 explains soil restoration in practice including sanitation practices, namely Terra Preta Sanitation.
About the Lecturer
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Otterpohl is the Head of the Institute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection ( AWW) at Hamburg University of Technology. Reuse systems on the low-cost end that are under R&D at his institute are Terra Preta Sanitation systems, designed to produce highly fertile soils e.g. for reforestation. Such systems are part of his latest research activity on rural development with a focus on local added value production including soil improvement for long term water and food security. New Town development is the latest focal point of his research.