The book was edited by P.V. Krasilnikov, M.V. Konyushkova, and R. Vargas.
In July 2016 the Eurasian Soil Partnership (EASP) of the Eurasian Center for Food Security, together with the FAO’s Global Soil Partnership Secretariat, published a book – a collection of research papers entitled Land Resources and Food Security in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. The book was prepared in 2015 under the EASP Implementation Plan of the subregional partnership approved in Izmir, Turkey, which provides for the publication of scientific, research, and working papers that address challenges of sustainable soil management in the region.
The aim of the current EASP publication is to integrate the efforts of researchers and practitioners working in sustainable soil management to tackle the challenging tasks of preserving and improving soils as a major natural resource. Reflecting on the importance of region’s soil quality to food security, such integration is expected to contribute to addressing the tasks of sustainable land use in a broader context – including climate change, social and economic conditions of the region, and issues related to land degradation and desertification.
Traditionally, food security is viewed as an economic concept. It is usually taken to mean the ability of society to produce or purchase food in the amount required by the population, to distribute food in a relatively equitable manner, and to provide certain standards for its quality. It is clear that each component depends not only on purely economic indicators but also on a large number of factors related to natural resources and their conditions. Among natural resources that ensure food security, soil is rightfully considered one of the top priorities. Initial soil fertility, soil properties that limit land use for agricultural purposes, and the extent of soil anthropogenic degradation largely determine all components of food security. Land Resources and Food Security in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus is an attempt to search for answers to questions about the current situation regarding soil resources in the region in question, how these resources are linked to food security, and how the supply of food to the population can be improved through soil-enhancement measures.
The book consists of three parts. The first part is dedicated to broader issues of food security and sustainable development and the role played by soil resources. The second part characterizes soil resources of the region, describes issues of their evaluation and degradation, and illustrates the successful practice of soil restoration. And the third places the evaluation and functions of the soil into the context of a systemic approach that covers multiple landscape components. We hope that this book will be a valuable collection of research papers both on the food security aspects and the issues of soil resources in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus, as well as in other regions with similar natural, social, and economic conditions.