Except for trees and shrubs growing on rocky slopes and walls …

Photo credit: Tree on rocks – 969935_618592708174313_1748636207_n.jpg

Tree on wall - Photo Grow Food, Not Lawns - 564654_448978498491101_1772496155_n.jpg
Tree on wall – Photo Grow Food, Not Lawns – 564654_448978498491101_1772496155_n.jpg

Soils are the foundation for vegetation

Healthy soils are crucial for ensuring the continued growth of natural and managed vegetation, providing feed, fibre, fuel, medicinal products and other ecosystem services such as climate regulation and oxygen production.

Soils and vegetation have a reciprocal relationship. Fertile soil encourages plant growth by providing plants with nutrients, acting as a water holding tank, and serving as the substrate to which plants anchor their roots. In return, vegetation, tree cover and forests prevent soil degradation and desertification by stabilizing the soil, maintaining water and nutrient cycling, and reducing water and wind erosion.

As global economic growth and demographic shifts increase the demand for vegetation, animal feed and vegetation by products such as wood, soils are put under tremendous pressure and their risk of degradation increases greatly. Managing vegetation sustainably—whether in forests, pastures or grasslands—will boost its benefits, including timber, fodder and food, in a way meets society’s needs while conserving and maintaining the soil for the benefit of present and future generations.

Related links: www.fao.org/soils-2015
Read the full text: FAO

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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

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