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Climate Change and its Impact on Soil Health

Find out about climate change and its impact on soil health.

Soil health refers to the soil’s ability to produce crops and animals sustainably, while maintaining and improving the environment.

Climate change may adversely impact soil health by reducing the amount of organic matter in the soil, harming the structure of the soil; and increasing its vulnerability to erosion and other degradation processes.

Water can effect soil health. Extreme downpours can lead to run off and erosion. This strips the soil of key nutrients needed to sustain agriculture. In coastal areas, sea level rise may also lead to an increase in ground water salinization as the salty sea floods further inland. Consequently, this will compromise the availability of fresh water used for primary production in agriculture.

Conversely, reduced precipitation coupled with increasing heat will cause desertification and the loss of farm production in some areas. Frequent droughts and enhanced evaporation kill off the vital living soil ecosystems necessary to grow health crops whilst leaving less water to dilute pollutants.

What we would like you to do

Please watch the video introducing the implications of climate change. From the video and what you have learnt from the course so far please share your thoughts on the implications of climate change to food security. In the discussion area, you might want to consider the following:

  • Did you think climate change could threaten food security?

  • Are you surprised at how the different climate change effects interact with soil, water, plant and animal health and food production?

  • Have you learnt anything about the effect of climate change on food production that you had never considered before?

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Farm to Fork: Sustainable Food Production in a Changing Environment

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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