International Year of Soils

Many of the world’s soils are in poor condition. That’s why UN food organisation FAO has declared 2015 the Year of Soils. ImpactReporters has responded by initiating a special Healthy soils theme page on the popular science website Kennislink.

One fifth of the world’s soils are degraded

Soil is the soft, vulnerable layer overlaying the hard bedrock. A healthy soil is made up of half sand or clay, 40 percent water and air and 10 percent organic matter, such as the roots of plants and soil organisms. It’s estimated that one fifth to a quarter of the world’s soils has been degraded, with the result that less can grow there. Excessive intensive farming, urbanisation and neglect are just some of the contributing factors.

Educating the public

There’s a need for better soil management and that’s what the Year of Soils aims to get across. One of its aims is to ‘inform the public about the crucial role soils play in food security, climate adaptation, biodiversity and combating poverty.’ ImpactReporters will do this by reporting on the research news, starting with World Soils Week in Berlin (April 19-22) right up until World Soil Day on December 5. The multi-media e-platform with up-to-date articles and visual material will offer the broader public an insight into possible solutions for more sustainable soils.

This project has been made possible by Food & Business Knowledge Platform, Pubic Private Program BeterBodemBeheer, Triodos Foundation and the Dutch Association of Soil Experts.

Photo credit: cropping systems agronomist D.B. Pandit/CIMMYT.