Soils are one of the planet’s most precious non-renewable resources. They are essential for the production of food, animal feed, shelter and energy. They store and filter water, recycle nutrients, provide a buffer against floods, sequester carbon and host one-quarter of the Earth’s biodiversity.
Yet in many parts of the world – and especially in poorer countries – soils are in danger, threatened by urbanization, deforestation, poor agricultural practices, pollution and overgrazing, leaving them bare, degraded and unproductive.
World Soil Day highlights the importance of soil and the need to use it sustainably. The event has been marked annually since the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) passed a resolution in 2002 proposing December 5 as World Soil Day. To raise awareness further, FAO’s Global Soil Partnership has declared the year 2015 as the UN International Year of Soils. In the past few weeks, the research and development community has met to discuss the most pressing issues relating to soil and landscape protection at Global Soil Week and the Global Landscapes Forum.
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