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S.O.S. – saving the vital resource soils

Photo credit: Food Tank

Food Tank discusses what each of us can do to protect soil health with Michaël Wilde from the Save Our Soils campaign.
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Save Our Soils

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has named 2015 theInternational Year of Soils. Soil is one of the earth’s most valuable natural resources, and Food Tank recently discussed the importance of saving this vital resource with Michaël Wilde from the Save Our Soils campaign.

Food Tank (FT): What is the importance of the International Year of Soils?

Michaël Wilde (MW): The International Year of Soils, initiated by the FAO, is extremely important because it gives us a stage to inform the media and the public about how important soil is for our planet. The European Union refers to Soil as one of the earth’s most important yet most neglected resources, so we really need to grab this opportunity to let everyone know about the soil crisis and also about the Soilutions!

FT: How much soil is being lost?

MW: Every minute we lose the equivalent of thirty soccer fields of soil. As a result, we are losing 10 million hectares of farmland every year. Furthermore, it is estimated that one-quarter of the earth’s soils are highly degraded.

FT: What is causing soil degradation?

MW: Erosion is the most common form of soil degradation. When soil is left exposed to wind and rain, erosion occurs. Soils with low organic matter content will erode more easily. These soils are less able to retain water and can, therefore, be easily washed or blown away by the wind. Agriculture is responsible for three-quarters of the erosion worldwide. The erosion takes place due to poor treatment of the soil and frequent removal of the vegetation. Because of these practices, erosion on farmland is estimated to be 75 times bigger than natural erosion in forest areas. Deforestation and urbanization are also responsible for the current soil loss and degradation.

FT: What impact can soil degradation have on food security, climate, and public health?

 

Read the full article: Food Tank

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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