Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
SOIL, 2, 79–82, 2016
SOIL, 2, 79–82, 2016

Forum article 29 Feb 2016

Forum article | 29 Feb 2016

World's soils are under threat

Luca Montanarella1, Daniel Jon Pennock2, Neil McKenzie3, Mohamed Badraoui4, Victor Chude5, Isaurinda Baptista6, Tekalign Mamo7, Martin Yemefack8, Mikha Singh Aulakh9, Kazuyuki Yagi10, Suk Young Hong11, Pisoot Vijarnsorn12, Gan-Lin Zhang13, Dominique Arrouays14, Helaina Black15, Pavel Krasilnikov16, Jaroslava Sobocká17, Julio Alegre18, Carlos Roberto Henriquez19, Maria de Lourdes Mendonça-Santos20, Miguel Taboada21, David Espinosa-Victoria22, Abdullah AlShankiti23, Sayed Kazem AlaviPanah24, Elsiddig Ahmed El Mustafa Elsheikh25, Jon Hempel26, Marta Camps Arbestain27, Freddy Nachtergaele28, and Ronald Vargas28 Luca Montanarella et al.
  • 1European Commission – DG JRC, Via E. Fermi, 2749, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy
  • 2College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon SK S7N 5A8, Canada
  • 3CSIRO Agriculture Flagship, B.E. Butler Laboratory, GPO Box 1666, Canberra, ACT 2601, Canberra, Australia
  • 4INRA, Rabat, Morocco
  • 5National Programme for Food Security, 127 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, Nigeria
  • 6Instituto Nacional de Investigação e Desenvolvimento Agrário (INIDA) – São Jorge dos Órgãos CP 84, Praia, Cabo Verde
  • 7Ministry of Agriculture, P.O. Box 62347, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • 8International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • 9Banda University of Agriculture & Technology, Banda, 210001, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • 10National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIAES), 3-1-3 Kannondai, Tsukuba 305-8604, Japan
  • 11National Academy of Agricultural Science (NAAS), Rural Development Administration (RDA), Wanju-gun, Jeonbuk, South Korea
  • 12Chaipattana Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 13State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
  • 14INRA, InfoSol Unit, US 1106, 45075, Orléans, France
  • 15Ecological Sciences Group, The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, Scotland, UK
  • 16Eurasian Center for Food Security, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
  • 17National Agricultural and Food Centre – Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • 18Departamento de Suelos, National Agrarian University, La Molina, Peru
  • 19Centro de Investigaciones Agronómicas, Facultad de Ciencias Agroalimentarias, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica
  • 20EMBRAPA – Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation/The National Centre of Soil Research (Embrapa Solos), Rua Jardim Botânico, 1024, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
  • 21Instituto de Suelos and CONICET, CIRN, INTA, Nicolás Repetto y De los Reseros S/N, CP 1686 Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 22Colegio de Postgraduados, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 23International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • 24Department of Remote Sensing and GIS, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
  • 25Department of Soil & Environment Sciences, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Republic of the Sudan
  • 26USDA-NRCS National Soil Survey Center,100 Centennial Mall, Lincoln, NE 68508, USA
  • 27Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey Agriculture, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
  • 28Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy

Abstract. The Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils has completed the first State of the World's Soil Resources Report. Globally soil erosion was identified as the gravest threat, leading to deteriorating water quality in developed regions and to lowering of crop yields in many developing regions. We need to increase nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer use in infertile tropical and semi-tropical soils – the regions where the most food insecurity among us are found – while reducing global use of these products overall. Stores of soil organic carbon are critical in the global carbon balance, and national governments must set specific targets to stabilize or ideally increase soil organic carbon stores. Finally the quality of soil information available for policy formulation must be improved – the regional assessments in the State of the World's Soil Resources Report frequently base their evaluations on studies from the 1990s based on observations made in the 1980s or earlier.

Short summary
The Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils has completed the first State of the World's Soil Resources Report. The gravest threats were identified for all the regions of the world. This assessment forms a basis for future soil monitoring. The quality of soil information available for policy formulation must be improved.