Special Viewpoints

Tropical Soils and Food Security: The Next 50 Years

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Science  21 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5649, pp. 1356-1359
DOI: 10.1126/science.1088579

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Abstract

An appreciation of the dynamism of the links between soil resources and society provides a platform for examining food security over the next 50 years. Interventions to reverse declining trends in food security must recognize the variable resilience and sensitivity of major tropical soil types. In most agro-ecosystems, declining crop yield is exponentially related to loss of soil quality. For the majority smallholder (subsistence) farmers, investments to reverse degradation are primarily driven by private benefit, socially or financially. “Tragedy of the commons” scenarios can be averted by pragmatic local solutions that help farmers to help themselves.

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