Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

A. Schulte:

Soil and world development from the viewpoint of agricultural and silvicultural approaches to international cooperation


With an annual global loss rate of 7-10 million ha of useful agricultural and forestry area as well as productivity losses due to various causes, world soils degradation has assumed alarming proportions despite all conventions, publications and initiatives. At least 15 to 20 % of the total land mass is now deemed mostly destroyed by human activities.

Pedology and above all soil protection and soil rehabilitation have also recorded the process of rapidly growing global interdependencies. However, soil scientists still often tend to consider soil as a local phenomenon in the same way as development politicians. Associations in the German language such as "bound to our native soil", "rooted in the soil" or "have one's roots in" bear witness to the cultural, local embodiment for the whole of society. In the worldwide trends and interdependencies described in the text, soil appears to have become one of the most important "global players", which exerts diverse effects on the world's society, the world's economy and ecology and - to an increasing extent – on world peace too.

The article presents the trends significant for soil and world development and looks into the question as to what extent the interrelationships and consequences have to date been taken into account in international cooperation as well as expounding new possibilities for financing international soil rehabilitation projects which could result from implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

Keywords: world soil resources; soil rehabilitation: silviculture; development cooperation; Kyoto Protocol.