The Private Institute for Climate Change Research, ICC, has joint efforts with Pantaleon sugar mill to reduce water erosion and preserve the soils of the productive units located in Southern Guatemala.
This alliance has allowed performing studies and analysis in soil preservation since 2012. Studies have validated the effectiveness of the hillside ditches when controlling water erosion in Finca Concepcion and the broadband terraces in Finca San Bonifacio. The hillside ditches reduce erosion from 41% to 55%, while broadband terraces can reduce erosion up to 50%.
Nowadays, the erosion rates for the analyzed lands of Pantaleon are less than 10 tons per hectare, which is considered as no erosion or slight erosion based upon FAO’s standards. These rates are similar to the natural erosion that Earth suffers.
“Those systems help us to conserve soil, since when we have extreme events such as an Agatha Storm, the water erosion rates can increase up to 27% compared to a normal rainfall year”, said Alma Santos, researcher for Soil Conservancy of the ICC.
This year, the common goal of ICC and Pantaleon is to analyze the quality (fertility) and quantity of the soil that is kept in the soil conservancy systems, as well as to perform humidity tests.
Also, this 2016 the ICC will perform a Soil Conservancy management plan to cover the work area of Pantaleon and will implement a water management plan for the Finca La Peñita of the Santa Ana sugar mill.
Some interesting facts about the soil are:
- Soils constitute the base for vegetation that is harvested or organized to produce food, fibers, fuels and medical products.
- Soils help mitigate and adapt to climate change. Soils play a key role in the carbon fixation cycle.
- Soils keep and filter water. These functions contribute to food safety and generate resilience against floods and droughts.
- Soils shelter a quarter of world’s biodiversity.
- Healthy soils are the base for healthy food production. World’s most recognized function of soil is food production.
- Soil is a non-renewable resource. Its conservation is crucial for food safety and our sustainable future.
- It takes up to one thousand years to form one centimeter of soil.