Did you know?
- It can take up to 500 years to create 1cm of topsoil
- There can be up to 5 tonnes of animal life living in one hectare of soil
- Soil stores 10% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions.
Soil has many critical functions. It plays a primary role in food production, mining and construction, waste management, biofuels, and in ecosystem functioning.
Soil provides minerals and water to plants, absorbs rainwater and releases it later preventing floods and drought, it cleans water as it percolates through the soil profile. Soils are also home to a high diversity of organisms, many of which are involved in the decomposition of dead plant material and nutrient recycling.
Soil is subject to pollution from many of the sources that also pollute water and air. Despite the important functions of soil and the organisms it supports, much less is known about soil than air and water. A greater understanding is required to sustain its functions and to tackle global, regional and local environmental challenges.