Soils and Global Change — An Overview
There have been a number of meetings and publications on soils and global change in the last few years (Anderson, 1992; Scharpenseel et al., 1990; Bouwman, 1990; Arnold et al., 1990). In continuing further with this work, we ought to bear in mind that the study of soil has been changing rapidly over the last decade or so. Soil science used to be seen almost entirely as a support for agriculture and forestry, and the justification for its study was the increase in productivity which it could bring. Recently this focus has widened enormously. Soil science is now a major component of any environmental science course. Soil biota are an important part of world biodiversity, and soil has a critical part to play in several essential elemental cycles. Soil pollution is as important as, and often far more persistent than, atmospheric and aquatic pollution (Eijsackers and Hamer, 1993). When we consider the impact of global change on soils, we do so from a far broader viewpoint than we would have done only a couple of decades ago. However, despite this massive interest in newer fields, we must not forget the agricultural imperative. The main economic purpose for which soil is used is still agriculture, and amid the potential catastrophes of global change, famine must surely rank as one of the most serious.
KeywordsSoil Organic Matter Global Change Wind Erosion Global Circulation Model Arable Agriculture
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