Impact assessment of soil salinity on crop production in Uzbekistan and its global significance

Khasanov, Sayidjakhon; Kulmatov, Rashid; Li, Fadong; Amstel, Andre van; Bartholomeus, Harm; Aslanov, Ilhomjon; Sultonov, Komolitdin; Kholov, Nabijon; Liu, Hongguang; Chen, Gang


Food security is threatened by the increasing food demand, competition for land and water resources, soil salinization, and curbing hazardous emissions. Currently, climate change is predicted to affect agricultural crop yields, which has been revealed by the statistical analysis of crop yield data. Studies have mapped and assessed soil salinity under climate change conditions, derived the relationship between soil salinity and groundwater patterns, and evaluated the impact of soil salinity on agricultural crop production worldwide. However, no investigation was focused on the dynamic cropland changes of Uzbekistan by soil salinity. The impact of fertilizer, herbicide, fungicide and insecticide applications on soil salinity is poorly understood not only in Uzbekistan but around the world. In addition, the impact of crop yield decline in Uzbekistan on other countries is not clear. To address above questions, nationwide cropland and soil salinity changes in Uzbekistan were monitored and mapped using the Google Earth engine platform for 2000–2020. It was found that the phosphorus-based mineral fertilizer contributed to soil salinity. However, no effect of other agrochemical applications on soil salinity was observed. Furthermore, the impact of soil salinity on crop production in Uzbekistan was sufficiently high, leading to rapid decline of the export rate of cotton and wheat. This rapid decline of export could jeopardize the economics of Bangladesh and food security of Afghanistan. Development of sustainable strategies for mitigating climatic variabilities and fertilizer management to reduce the severity of soil salinization in Uzbekistan is in urgent need.