While global food demand and world population are rapidly growing, land potential for cropping is steadily declining due to various soil degradation processes, a major one of them being soil salinization. Currently, approximately 20% of total cropland and 33% of irrigated agricultural land are salinized as a result of poor agricultural practices and it is expected that by 2050, half of the croplands worldwide will become salinized. Thus, there is a real need to better understand soil salinization processes and to develop agricultural practices that will enable production of the needed amount of food to feed humanity, while minimizing soil salinization and other degradation processes. The major sources of solutes in agricultural environments are: (i) the soil itself, and the parent geological material; (ii) shallow and salt rich groundwater; and (iii) salt rich irrigation water. The salinization of soil is a combination of transport of solutes towards the root zone to replenish evaporation and transpiration and limited washing of the soil by rain or irrigation. Therefore, most salinized soils are present in arid and semi-arid environments where precipitation is low and evaporation is high. In this manuscript, examples of soil salinization processes from croplands around the world will be presented and discussed to bring attention to this important topic, to present the latest scientific insights and to highlight the gaps that should be filled, from both scientific and practical perspectives.
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