Checking soil quality Peter Parks/Getty Images

Ciências do solo para um planeta faminto

AUBURN, ALABAMA – Segundo as Nações Unidas, por volta de 2050 a população humana do planeta chegará perto dos dez mil milhões, um valor que exercerá pressão sobre muitos dos mais importantes sistemas actuais do mundo, especialmente na agricultura. De que forma conseguirão os agricultores (nomeadamente, os produtores pobres de países em desenvolvimento) aumentar a produtividade das culturas, para satisfazerem a procura crescente de alimentos?

Alimentar o mundo de forma eficiente não será fácil, e imponderáveis como as mudanças climáticas, os conflitos violentos e a disponibilidade de água potável serão factores de complexidade adicional. As novas técnicas agrícolas, que usam informações e aeronaves não tripuladas para monitorizar a saúde das colheitas, poderão ajudar. Mas um dos mais poderosos métodos para melhorar o rendimento de forma sustentável consistirá em aproveitarmos o que já existe no terreno.

Os micróbios que existem naturalmente nos solos ajudam a promover a saúde das colheitas e a melhorar a produção vegetal. Mas uma gestão deficiente dos solos pode levar a uma perda de conteúdo microbiano. Ao reabastecermos os solos empobrecidos com estes organismos benéficos, podemos melhorar a produtividade agrícola, sem dependermos de produtos dispendiosos como fertilizantes e pesticidas, ajudando assim a ultrapassar os intimidantes desafios de alimentar uma população crescente ao mesmo tempo que se protege o ambiente.

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