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The Global Soil Week is a collective process and a knowledge platform for sustainable soil management and responsible land governance worldwide.
Soil is inextricably linked to human and ecosystem health and crucial if we are to ensure food, water, and energy security for nine billion people by 2050. It sustains biodiversity – and if managed wisely – contributes to the mitigation of climate change.
Nevertheless, we continuously transform this resource in unsustainable ways. We lose an estimated 24 billion tons of fertile soil each year due to erosion. One quarter of the earth’s surface is already degraded, which impacts 1.5 billion people today.
In fact, soil is a non-renewable resource within human time frames, as it forms very slowly over time.
Many degradation patterns can be traced back to inequalities regarding access to soils and land tenure. Ways and means to overcome these inequalities are indispensable to sustainable and equitable development.
The year 2015 provides many significant opportunities to address soils on the international stage to address soils in the context of international sustainable development negotiations.
Soils are scarce
Since the 1950’s, the amount of available arable land per capita has decreased by 50% worldwide. photo credit: cc Camelia Twu
Soils are essential
If we are to ensure water, energy and food security for 9 billion people by 2050. photo credit: Ekta Parishad
Soils are disputed
Marginalized groups, including the rural poor in particular, have increasingly inequitable access to fertile soils. Photo credit: cc@ c.muniz
Soils are non-renewable
500 years will pass during the natural formation of 2 cm of fertile topsoil.
Soils are local and global
60% of the land needed to cover Europe’s demand for agricultural and forestry products are located outside of Europe, and hence virtually traded at a global scale. photo credit: Corey Seeman
Soils are degraded
More than 24 billion tons of fertile soil is lost each year due to erosion.