Strategies and challenges for soil and water management and increasing resilience to climate change in agricultural production systems in Brazil
Keynote Session for Conference Theme 2
22.11.2023 10:00 – 10:45
Aluísio Granato de Andrad
The conversion of natural areas into productive areas made it possible to increase the supply of food, fiber, energy and other raw materials for the development of humanity. However, many lands that generated wealth through agricultural activities are currently degraded or in the process of degradation. It is estimated that, in the world, around 33% of land has some type of degradation. In Brazil, these areas already reach more than 100 million ha. This degradation situation could worsen with ongoing climate change. The occurrence of increasingly frequent extreme events, such as high-intensity storms, causes an increase in the spread of erosive processes and the rise in temperature generates greater water consumption for agricultural production, negatively impacting a wide range of crops, which creates risks for food security. Adaptation gains relevance as evidence indicates the occurrence of impacts associated with climate change, which can influence, positively or negatively, natural, human, productive and infrastructure systems. Possible impacts for Brazil and South America consist of the extinction of habitats and species, mainly in the tropical region; replacement of tropical forests with savannas and semi-arid vegetation with arid; increase in regions in a situation of water stress, that is, without enough water to meet the demands of the population and an increase in pests in agricultural crops, in addition to the displacement and migration of populations. In order to plan mitigating actions, it is extremely important to anticipate the impacts on the productivity of different agricultural production systems and the quality of the products. An increase in temperature could lead to an increase in the frequency of extreme events in different regions of Brazil, as well as a change in the rainfall regime, with a greater occurrence of droughts, floods, flooding, landslides and consequent population displacements in the affected regions. These changes will have consequences on society, ecosystems and different sectors of the economy. The absence of a national soil and water conservation policy was highlighted by the Audit Report on Soil Governance in Brazil as one of the main risks for the sustainable management of these resources. On the other hand, some more current initiatives point to directing efforts to reverse this situation, through the execution and evolution of these policies, such as the National Policy for the Recovery of Native Vegetation, the Bill: National Policy for Use, Management and Conservation of Agricultural Soil, the National Soil Survey and Interpretation Program of Brazil (PRONASOLOS), which will make it possible to detail soil information in the country at scales more compatible with planning for the sustainable use of soil and water resources, the National Water Resources Policy , especially the Water Producer Program, the Low Carbon Emission Agriculture Plan and also initiatives from some States of the Federation with the Hydrographic Microbasins Programs. Considering the extensive underutilized areas, with varying levels of degradation, existing in Brazil today, the application of available technologies with greater sustainability and resilience to climate change, such as integrated agricultural production systems, represent an opportunity to increase national agricultural production without the need to expand the agricultural frontier through deforestation and also contribute to reducing the impacts of climate change with greater carbon sequestration in the soil and agroecosystems and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The continental expression of Brazil will require overcoming a set of challenges in managing soil and water resources to promote integrated action by public and private institutions and greater participation by society in actions to mitigate climate change in different biomes, with vegetation, relief , different soils and climate, in addition to contrasting socioeconomic and cultural aspects.