Without healthy soil, life on earth would be unsustainable. Soil is the foundation of agriculture, and the largest pool of organic carbon essential for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
New approaches must be adopted. As much as one-third of all soils are degraded due to:
– soil sealing
– soil organic matter and nutrient depletion
– other processes caused by unsustainable land management practices
It takes up to 1,000 years to form one centimetre of soil. Investment in sustainable soil management is be cheaper than restoration and is needed for the achievement of food security and nutrition, climate change adaptation and mitigation and overall sustainable development.
– Soils are the foundation of agriculture. They provide vital ecosystem services and the basis for food, feed, fuel, fibre and medical products important for human well-being.
– Soils are fundamental for the appropriate storage and distribution of water.
– 1/4 of the world’s biodiversity lives underground, where, for example, the earthworm is a giant alongside tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungi.
– Organisms and plant roots act as the primary agents driving nutrient cycling and help plants by improving nutrient intake — in turn supporting above-ground biodiversity.
– Organisms boost soil’s ability to absorb carbon and mitigate desertification, so that even more carbon can be sequestered.
In 2015, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has implemented more than 120 soil-related projects around the world and produced together with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Soil Map. Among the most urgent priorities is to update, standardize and render accessible the world’s knowledge of soil types and distribution. One of FAO’s priorities is to establish a global soil information system that could assist with reliable data decision-making regarding soil management.