Forthcoming International Conference:

International Salinity Conference (ISC-2024) on ‘Rejuvenating Salt Affected Ecologies for Land Degradation Neutrality under Changing Climate’ at ICAR-CSSRI, Karnal during 14-16 February 2024 in hybrid mode.

About the Conference

Salt-affected soils (SAS) are spread over more than 100 countries in the world. Globally, SAS covers over ~835 Mha, comprising sodic (438 Mha) and saline (397 Mha) soils. Of which ~76 Mha area is affected by human-induced salinization and sodification. Livelihoods of more than 2.6 billion (about 74%) of resource-poor peasants is facing a threat due to moderate to severe degradation of nearly 52% of the world’s agrarian land. This results in an annual economic loss to the extent of ~US$ 6.3 billion. To contain the process of further soil deterioration, the sustainable land management is vital for ecological sustainability and to meet the national targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Presently, the soil salinization is a major environmental challenge affecting the production and low of essential ecosystem services (loss of biodiversity, nutrient and water recycling, carbon sequestration etc.) eventually results in the reduced productive capacity of soils.

At present, India has 6.73 Mha salt-affected area, of which 2.95 million ha is saline distributed over 16 states. Moreover, the situation may worsen in near future as the projected area under SAS might increase to the extent of 16.2 M ha by 2050. For this, the major causes are: inefficient-drainage systems and associated waterlogging conditions; increasing use of unstainable management practices and incessantly expensing area under poor-quality groundwater irrigation. The use of poor-quality groundwater irrigation ranges 32–84% in different arid and semiarid regions of India. This poses a serious threat to the sustainability of crop production system. Further, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Punjab states accounts for ~ 80% of the total sodic lands of India. The problem of saline soils is present in 12 states among them Gujarat has the highest area (1.68 Mha). The estimates show that the annual crop production loss due to salinity and sodicity is as high as 16.84 million tonnes, resulting in loss of ₹ 23,00 million (2015 base price). This necessitates the need of sustainable management of the degraded lands to avoid their further expansion and associated ramifications for the food security under the looming effects of climate change.