“Caring for the Planet from the Ground” is the theme of this year’s World Soil Day (#worldsoilday). World Soil Day (WSD) is an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness of the critical importance of healthy soils and advocating for the sustainable management of global soil resources. In June 2013, the FAO Conference endorsed WSD and requested for it to be officially adopted at the 68th UN General Assembly. As a result, 5 December 2014 was designated as the first official WSD. So why is soil so important and why should we care about the health of it?
Land degradation is the result of a number of largely human-induced factors, such as poor soil and water management practices, deforestation, overgrazing, improper crop rotation and unsustainable land use. In turn, these can significantly affect soil fertility, resulting in diminished crop yields and food insecurity. Traditional methods of modelling and monitoring soil erosion usually require a large number of parameters and many years of taking measurements. However, over the past decade, nuclear technologies and isotopic techniques have been introduced, which can effectively assess the soil and water status of an area, as well as identifying hot spots of land degradation. But how does it work?
June 17 has been designated by the United Nations as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCD). The slogan of this year's WDCD is 'Land Belongs to the Future, Let’s Climate Proof It’, which aims to ‘highlight the benefits of mainstreaming sustainable land management policies and practices into our collective response to climate change’. The objectives of this year’s WDCD are to increase the attention given to land and soil within climate change adaptation; mobilise support for sustainable land management and call for the inclusion of land and soil and their role in food security into national climate adaptation policies.