Alianza Mundial por el Suelo

  • awareness raising
  • soil biodiversity
  • capacity development
  • soil information and data
  • soil erosion
  • soil fertility
  • soil governance
  • soil pollution
  • soil salinity
  • soil organic carbon

Soil salinity


Soil salinization takes up to 1.5 million ha of farmland per year out of production

Soil salinization decreases the production potential of up to 46 million ha per year

The annual loss in agricultural productivity caused by salinization is estimated to be of US$ 31 million


Salt-affected soils consist of saline and sodic soils, occur in all continents and under almost all climatic conditions, but their distribution is relatively more extensive in the arid and semi-arid regions compared to the humid regions. Soil salinization and sodification are major soil degradation processes threatening ecosystem and are recognized as being among the most important problems at a global level for agricultural production, food security and sustainability in arid and semi-arid regions. There are extensive areas of salt-affected soils on all the continents but their extent and distribution have not been studied in detail.

Salt-affected soils have serious impacts on soil functions leading to an array of consequences, including significant decreases in agricultural productivity, water quality, soil biodiversity, and soil erosion. Salt-affected soils have a decreased ability to act as a buffer and filter against pollutants. The degradation of soil structure and functions of global ecological systems such as the hydrological, nutrient and biogeochemical cycles, impair the provision of ecosystem services, which are critical for supporting human life and biodiversity. Salt-affected soils reduce both the ability of crops to take up water and the availability of micronutrients. They also concentrate ions that are toxic to plants and may degrade the soil structure.

Raise awareness on the issue of salt-affected soils and their impact on agriculture and the environment. Promote technological innovation to manage and remediate salt-affected soils. Invest in gathering better knowledge about the status of salt-affected soils at the global level in order to determine how to best manage soil degradation as a whole. Develop policies and implement actions in the field - based on scientific evidence - to mainstream sustainable soil management. Restore degraded soils in areas greatly affected by salinity and/or sodicity. Promote the sustainable management of salt-affected soils.

Global map of salt-affected soils (GSASmap) is now online!

Latest stories

Soil salinity mapping and trainings

Soil Salinity Mapping

Global Soil Salinity map released

Launched on 20 October 2021

FAO-GSP launched the Global Soil Salinity map (GSASmap) to update the global and country-level information on salt-affected soils and lay ground for future periodic monitoring.

Soil salinity trainings

Global Soil Salinity Trainings

Capacity development at global scale

Through eight regional trainings, the capacity development programme organized by FAO-GSP, reached 70 countries and 400 experts with the objective to produce a global salinity map.

Soil Doctors Programme

Soil Doctors and Salinity

Salinity in farmer-to-farmer trainings

The programme provides soil doctors with training, educational material and soil testing kits to build capacity on the principle of soil science and promote sustainable soil management.

Global report

Global Status of Salt-Affected Soils

FAO publication on the global status of salt-affected soils

The report on the Global Status of Salt-Affected Soils is focused on the salt-affected soils extent and intensity of salt levels in the soil at the national, regional and global scales.

In action


Global Symposium on Salt-affected Soils

20-22 October 2021, Virtual format

The Symposium was a science-policy meeting, organized by FAO-GSP, ITPS, SPI-UNCCD, the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), the International Center on Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), the International Network of Salt-Affected Soils (INSAS), and the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG).


International Network on Salt-affected Soils

Launched at the Center on Biosaline Agriculture

The International Network of Salt-Affected Soils (INSAS), launched during ICBA's first Global Forum on Innovations for Marginal Environments, aims to facilitate the sustainable and productive use of salt-affected soils for the current and future generations.

Capacity development

Capacity development saline soil management

Handbook and training on salinity in Eurasia

The capacity development training organized by FAO-GSP, Eurasian Center for Food Security, NSC ISSAR was held on 26-29 September 2017 in Kharkiv, Ukraine for Eurasia with the objective to train on efforts and technologies to sustainably manage saline soils.

Call for project

Call for projects for Eurasian countries

FAO-GSP and Eurasian Center for Food Security

Eurasia characterizes for salt-affected soils that put at risk food security and the achievement of the SDGs. Two calls for projects on soil research and on soil salinity mitigation and adaptation are launched annually to facilitate targeted research and partnerships.

Communication material

World Soil Day 2021: "Halt soil salinization, Boost soil productivity"


Salt-affected Soils: A global concern reducing agricultural productivity

Soils  affected by salinity and sodicity undergo a rapid decline of health, losing their capacity for biomass production, natural filtration, carbon sequestration and other necessary ecosystem functions.

Global Symposium on Salt-affected Soils

This high-level science-policy meeting #GSAS21 “Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity” will be held in a virtual format from 20 to 22 October 2021.

Are all salt-affected soils a threat?

The differences between naturally saline and sodic soils and human-induced salinization and sodification.

Economical losses due to soil salinization

The global annual cost of salt-induced land degradation in irrigated areas is estimated to be USD 27.3 billion related to lost crop production.

Migration due to soil salinization

As climate change and water scarcity increase, more soils become salt-affected...forcing people to leave their once productive land and migrate.

What can you do? Halt soil salinization, Boost soil productivity

Raise awareness, promote the use of sustainable farming systems, invest in gathering better knowledge...

Farmers in action

Eight good practices to halt soil salinization and boost soil productivity: Practice halophytic agriculture, irrigate with good quality water...

Related publications

Technical specifications and Country guidelines (EN | ES)

Handbook for saline soil management (EN | RU)

Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (AR | EN | ES | FR | RU | ZH)

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