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Soil is a non-renewable resource

Soil degradation is caused by unsustainable land uses and management practices, and climate extremes that result from various social, economic and governance drivers. Today, 33 percent of land is moderately to highly degraded due to the erosion, salinization, compaction, acidification and chemical pollution of soils. The current rate of soil degradation threatens the capacity of future generations to meet their most basic needs.

Current demographic trends and projected growth in global population (to exceed 9 billion by 2050) are estimated to result in a 60 percent increase in demand for food, feed and fibre by 2050. There is little opportunity for expansion in the agricultural area, except in some parts of Africa and South America. Much of the additional available land is not suitable for agriculture, and the ecological, social and economic costs of bringing it into production will be very high. Sustainable management of the world’s agricultural soils and sustainable production have therefore become imperative for reversing the trend of soil degradation and ensuring current and future global food security.