Soil Day 2014

soil

More attention to the health and management of the planet’s soils is needed to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population while coping with climate change and increased scarcity of natural resources. Soil is a critical natural resource yet until recently it has been largely overlooked and widely degraded.

In December 2013, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared December 5 as World Soil Day. This day celebrates the importance of soil as the basis for food, feed, fuel, fibre resources and for supporting ecosystems and human life.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) views soil as the foundation of agriculture.

“The importance of soil for food security should not be overlooked”, according to FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Pacific, Gavin Wall.

“From the origins of civilization, we can see how societies have prospered thanks to healthy soils and declined when their lands became degraded or infertile.”

Around the world, soil is under pressure: FAO studies have found that one quarter of the Earth’s land areas are highly degraded due to a variety of human activities – including farming.

“The significant roles of soils in food production are widely recognized, but the contributions of soils to food security and food safety are less considered.

“Now, the time is right to redress this lack of recognition.” says Wall.

FAO is hosting the Global Soil Partnership, an international cooperation of governments, regional organizations, institutions and other stakeholders to improve governance of the earth’s limited soil resources.

Healthy soil serves other functions besides food production. It is critical to the health of ground and surface waters and ecosystem health, and collects twice as much carbon than the atmosphere. The earth’s soil is home for at least a quarter of global biodiversity.

To further raise awareness, FAO’s Global Soil Partnership has declared the year 2015 as UN International Year of Soils.

Read more: International Soil Day 2014