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2015 is the International Year of Soils

Soil provides us with our livelihoods and protection. The United Nations declared it the protagonist of 2015 in order to spotlight risks threatening it.

We exploit, contaminate, and ruin it; still, it keeps providing us with food, fibres, fuels, and medical products. Soil plays an essential role for biodiversity and ecosystems survival, and it is the biggest carbon storage. Moreover, it stores and filters water, helping to face flooding and droughts, thanks to its natural resilience.

 

In order to protect this extraordinary resource, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils, with the aim of raising people’s awareness on its vital importance for our health, as well as that of the planet.

 

Soil is a precious but non-renewable resource, reason why the FAO and the United Nations invited single countries to support a sustainable use of soils. Different factors are currently threatening them, such as the traditional agriculture.

 

Our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities,” said Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute.

 

Globally, two-third of the cultivable land is destined to monocultures and annual cultures, contributing to dramatically impoverish soils and reduce biodiversity. Such traditional agricultural techniques are usually combined to an extensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that alter soil composition and threaten its health.

 

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The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) underlines the relationship between the International Year of Family Farming (2014) and the current International Year of Soils. Family and agriculture have been all along been closely linked. Farmers depend on soils, as much as soils depend on farmers. We need both of them in order to maintain a healthy planet and ensure food security.

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