Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity


Soils are essential to life on Earth. Their protection is of the utmost importance to ensure the future of agri-food systems and the provision of key ecosystem services. While there is increasing attention to the importance of biodiversity for food security and nutrition, especially above-ground biodiversity such as plants and animals, less attention is being paid to the biodiversity beneath our feet, soil biodiversity.

Have a look at a selection of publications showcasing FAO’s work on maintaining healthy ecosystems and ensuring human well-being by addressing the growing challenges of sustainable soil management.

The magical world of soil biodiversity. A collection of 10 children's stories from around the world
This book – a collection of the ten best soil biodiversity stories from the contest held on World Soil Day 2020 – aims to help spread the word among the young people on the fragility of our planet and the need to protect soil organisms.

State of knowledge of soil biodiversity – Status, challenges and potentialities. Report 2020
The first ever report highlighting the threats and the solutions that soil biodiversity can provide to current global challenges. This assessment is the result of a collaborative effort of more than 300 scientists from around the world and is expected to become a springboard in the field of soil biodiversity.  

Soil testing methods manual – Doctors global programme. A farmer-to-farmer training programme
This preliminary soil analysis how-to is part of a soil science education The Doctor’s Global Programme. 

Global Soil Organic Carbon map (GSOCmap) Version 1.5 – Technical report
This technical report presents the methodology and process used to create the first global soil organic carbon map ever produced by Member Countries under the guidance of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils and the Global Soil Partnership Secretariat.

GSOC MRV Protocol: A protocol for measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of soil organic carbon in agricultural landscapes
This voluntary protocol develops a conceptual framework and standard methodologies for the monitoring, reporting and verification of soil organic carbon changes and greenhouse gas emissions/removals, so as to provide feasible and contextualized guidelines that can be adapted locally in different agricultural lands. 

Technical specifications and country guidelines for Global Soil Organic Carbon sequestration potential map (GSOCseq)
This document supports the creation of maps at 1km resolution for agricultural lands, based on a bottom-up, country-driven approach. Guidelines for consistent results, modelling procedures, data requirements and sources are described, and final product specifications and data submission formats are provided.

Further reading 

Forthcoming titles

  • Global Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration Potential Map Technical Manual

Additional resources