July 26, 2016 10:00 - 11:15 am
Soil is a vibrant but delicate habitat in its own right: a teaspoon of soil can contain more living organisms than there are people on the planet. It is critical to life, but we often take it for granted. Soil has a huge impact on our environment and health: soil organisms control the majority of soil functions, such as nutrient cycling, storing and purifying water, or buffering the effects of pollutants and in these respects these soil organisms are crucial to us. As well as being a key aspect in mitigating climate change, by regulating the Earth's temperature through the emissions and storage of greenhouse gases, soil also provides the medium for food, feed, fibre production and fuel. As the global population is growing, the need for proper soil management is critical, if only to meet our future food needs.
Soil cannot be renewed in a human lifetime and we need a sustainable soil management and protection framework to preserve its capital, its functions in our ecosystems as well as the role it plays in our society and economies. If we do not stop its fast-paced degradation, our future is compromised. We will discuss the challenges to be met and potential solutions and good practices in order to define and implement a strategic approach to soil management and soil biodiversity protection.