Soil: How much do we value this critical resource?
The importance of soil is placed under the spotlight in this in-depth analysis by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Soil condition underpins food security, green growth, bioeconomies and aboveground biodiversity; it regulates climate, the hydrological and nutrient cycles, while mitigating climate change. Soils provide resilience against floods and droughts, buffer the effects of pollutants and preserve cultural heritage. Healthy, functional soils underpin several targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Pressures on this finite, non-renewable resource, due to competition for land or inappropriate land management choices, severely impact soil functions. Amplified by climate change, these pressures lead to degradation processes such as erosion, contamination, loss of organic matter, shallow landsliding and, in extreme cases, a complete loss of the resource.