UNITED NATIONS, Dec 6 (APP):The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a Rome-based UN agency, has called for protecting soils that are threatened by natural erosion on all continents to ensure human well-being and the sustainability of life on the planet.
Healthy soils are the basis for healthy habitats for all living beings, the agency said on World Soil Day, adding, they provide food, clean water, raw materials and various ecosystem services.
But salinity, acidification and loss of biodiversity are just some of the threats that soils are currently facing, FAO said.
This year’s World Soil Day commemoration focuses on reversing soil erosion for our future, it was pointed out.
“We are celebrating a treasure beneath our feet which hosts a quarter of the planet’s biodiversity and provides about 95 per cent of our food,” Eduardo Mansur, FAO’s Director of the Land and Water Division, said.
Unsustainable agriculture practices and other improper land use changes, such as illegal deforestation, can accelerate erosion up to a thousand times, according to FAO.
Soil erosion affects soil health and productivity by removing the highly fertile topsoil and exposing the remaining soil.
It decreases agricultural productivity, degrades ecosystem functions and amplifies hydrogeological risk, such as landslides or floods.
“Soil erosion can also cause significant losses in biodiversity, damage to urban and rural infrastructure and, in severe cases, lead to displacement of human populations,” Mansur added.