July 21, 2008 / 5:54 PM / 11 years ago

Soil database to help map CO2 storage, food output

Farmers spread corn seeds in a field in Medak district, about 70 km (43 miles) north of the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, June 28, 2008. REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder

MILAN (Reuters) - New database of the world’s soils will help better map agricultural output and storage and sequestration of heat trapping carbon dioxide (CO2), one of its creators, the United Nations’ food agency FAO, said on Monday.

Using the database, UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has also produced a global Carbon Gap Map to help identify areas with considerable soil carbon storage and degraded soils where billions of tons of CO2 could be sequestrated, it said.

“Soil information has often been the one missing information layer, the absence of which has added to the uncertainties of predicting the potential for and constraints to food and fiber production as well as the capacity of soils to hold carbon and to act as a sink,” FAO said in a statement.

The new worldwide database provides improved information about soils necessary for carbon trading and it can also help agronomists, farm experts and scientists to plan sustainable agricultural production and improve land management, it said.

Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova, editing by Anthony Barker

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