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SOIL ACIDIFICATION AND ITS IMPACT ON CARBON STORAGE IN INDIA



  Apr 24, 2024

SOIL ACIDIFICATION AND ITS IMPACT ON CARBON STORAGE IN INDIA



What is soil acidification and how does it occur?

Soil acidification is the process by which soils become more acidic, primarily due to industrial activities and intensive farming practices. The use of nitrogen fertilizers and acid rain are major contributors to this phenomenon.

Why is soil inorganic carbon (SIC) important?

SIC, including forms like calcium carbonate, is crucial for soil health as it helps regulate nutrients, supports plant growth, and plays a key role in the carbon sequestration process. SIC contributes to stabilizing the soil’s pH and overall structure.

How much SIC might India lose due to soil acidification?

India could lose approximately 3.3 billion tonnes of SIC from the top 0.3 metres of its soil over the next 30 years due to ongoing soil acidification.

Which regions in India are most affected by acidic soils?

Acidic soils are predominantly found in India’s humid southwestern, northeastern, and Himalayan regions, with the northeastern region recording acidity in about 95% of its soils.

What are the consequences of losing SIC?

The depletion of SIC can lead to a reduction in soil quality, affecting its ability to regulate nutrients and foster plant growth. This loss also predisposes the soil to increased carbon dioxide emissions, affecting global carbon cycles and climate change mitigation efforts.

What are the implications for agriculture?

Acidic soils limit the availability of crucial nutrients needed by plants, reducing agricultural productivity and crop yields. This can have significant economic and food security implications, especially in a heavily populated and agrarian country like India.

What steps can be taken to mitigate the effects of soil acidification?

Improving agricultural practices, such as optimizing the use of fertilizers and adopting soil pH management techniques, can help mitigate soil acidification. Research into more sustainable farming methods and the incorporation of SIC considerations into climate strategies is also essential.

Is there potential for lost SIC to be relocated within the soil?

The study suggests that lost SIC might relocate to deeper soil layers, though more research is needed to understand this process fully and its long-term impacts on carbon storage and soil health.

For sustainable management of soil resources and to safeguard agricultural productivity, it is crucial to address the challenges posed by soil acidification and enhance the understanding of SIC dynamics in Indian soils.



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