Unlocking the potential of soil organic carbon
This outcome document (PDF) from FAO gives an overview of the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon. The overall aim of the symposium was to review the role of soils and Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) in the context of climate change, sustainable development and land degradation neutrality. The three-day symposium was structured around three main themes focusing on the assessment of SOC, the maintenance and increase of SOC stocks, and SOC management in specific types of soil. Experts at the symposium concluded that there is convincing scientific evidence that a sustained increase in SOC contributes to the multiple objectives of climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security and achieving land degradation neutrality. SOC does this by improving soil quality, reducing soil erosion and increasing soil water-holding capacity and drought resilience. Experts also agreed that the main priorities of the SOC agenda are preventing further SOC losses and, where feasible, providing incentives to increase SOC stocks. This can be achieved by avoiding or reducing soil and land degradation, supported, where possible, by increasing SOC. Additionally, symposium participants recommended that the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management be refined to provide context-specific guidance on the sustainable management of SOC at the national and local scales.