Soils in fragile environments can be seen from a physical and a socio-economic point of view. When looking at fragile soils from a physical point of view we find that they are generally poor in nutrients and prone to erosion. Indeed, land degradation and environmental change threaten the fragile soil resource much more severely compared to many other regions on the planet. This illustrates the need for appropriate soil, water and nutrient conservation management. Farmers and forest managers in these environments, face the challenge to increase forest and agricultural production sustainably while dealing with the constraints these soils pose. At the same time, the financial means of many stakeholdersfarmers are limited and this influences the possibilities they have for sustainable – yet productive – land management farming that maintains soil productivity.
Growing economies, and processes increasingly under scrutiny such as land grabbing by large companies, create new socio-economic situations in many countries that need assessment and management.
This session aims at giving an overview of the current research and state of knowledge on fragile soils around the world and identifying the risks to the environmental services they provide, as well as examples of sustainable land use and the research needs to restore, develop and maintain these services. Contributions from all areas of soil science, forestry, agronomy, ecology, hydrology and geography are invited to contribute to this session.