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Soil is the foundation of life. It is a medium for plant growth and a habitat for many insects and other organisms. As much as 95 percent of all our food comes from soil. Soil also plays a key role in filtering water and absorbing carbon. Yet, what is the current state of the world soil resources?
Already about a third of the world’s soil has been degraded. This is worrisome, as it takes 1000 years to generate only 3 centimetres of topsoil. The causes of soil degradation include chemical-heavy farming, deforestation which increases erosion, pollution and climate change. If soil degradation continues to occur at the same rate, all of the world’s topsoil may be gone in as little as 60 years, according to the UN.
This is why practices that conserve soil, such as sustainable irrigation, agroforestry instead of traditional agriculture, the building of check dams and living terraces, among others, are increasingly important.
World Soil Resources Learning Tools