Soil biodiversity reflects the variability among living organisms ranging from micro-organisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes) and larger meso-fauna (e.g. acari and springtails), as well as the more familiar macro-fauna (e.g. earthworms and termites). Plant roots can also be considered as soil organisms in view of their symbiotic relationships and interactions with other soil components.
These diverse organisms interact with one another and with the various plants and animals contributing to the provision of ecosystem services essential for life.
The diverse soil organisms interact with one another and with the various plants and animals contributing to the provision of ecosystem services essential for life.
The Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its 6th meeting in Nairobi April 2002 (COP decision VI/5, paragraph 13) decided "to establish an International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity as a cross-cutting initiative within the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, and invites the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and other relevant organizations, to facilitate and coordinate this initiative".
Also the FAO Committee on Agriculture in its twenty-second session (June 2010) has approved the establishment of a global soil partnership for food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation led by FAO, which includes a comprehensive view of the problem and the opportunities the Soil Partnership will create to improving food security and livelihood, as well as, to address the challenges of climate change.
Taking the invitation into account, the aims of FAO’s work on soil biological management and soil biodiversity are: firstly, to increase awareness among the range of stakeholders of soil as a living entity and the importance of soil biodiversity for agricultural systems; and secondly, to catalyze the adoption of improved management practices and production systems to enhance soil biodiversity and its biological activity.