Status of the World's Soil Resources report to be released on 4 December 2015

The purpose of the report is to carry out the first ever global assessment of soils and soil change

The Status of the World's Soil Resources report (SWSR) will be released on 4 December in FAO headquarters, Rome.  The report will be officially launched at a high-level event in Rome which will also mark this year's celebration of World Soil Day and the official closure of the 2015 International Year of Soils.

What is the report about?

The report is based on the assessment of more than 200 environmental scientists of the state-of-knowledge on soil resources and soil change. It reports on the major soil changes globally and in more detail on regional changes. The report provides documented scientific data on soil erosion, soil organic carbon change, soil biodiversity changes, soil acidification, soil compaction, soil sealing, soil salinization and sodification, soil contamination, soil nutrient changes and water logging.

What is the purpose of the report? 

The purpose of the report is to carry out the first ever global assessment of soils and soil change based on an extensive review of published scientific literature.

What are its main findings?

The overwhelming conclusion from the report is that the majority of the world’s soil resources are in only fair, poor or very poor condition. Detailed regional reports and case studies contained in the report confirm that while there is cause for optimism in some regions, conditions are getting worse in far more cases than they are improving.

Who contributed?

The report was prepared by the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) and is based on text provided by more than 200 coordinating lead authors and authors from over 60 countries. The text was reviewed by many experts including government reviewers. FAO and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) provided editorial management and editing/publication facilities. The European Union provided financial resources.

Who is it aimed at?

The report is about 600 pages long, and is accompanied by a Technical Summary. A Summary for Policy makers will also be released. In this way the report is aimed at scientists, the general public and policy makers alike. 

Where can I access the report?

The report will be available for download directly from the FAO Document Repository.

Where do we go from here?

The report has identified a number of knowledge gaps and research needs. It also concludes that the majority of soil resources are in a poor state and require urgent actions. The further loss of productive soils will severely damage food production and food security and amplify food-price volatility. But the report also offers evidence that this loss of soil resources and functions can be avoided. Careful soil management, using proven methods and technologies, can increase the food supply and provide a valuable lever for climate regulation and safeguarding ecosystem services. Implementation by Governments of the FAO adopted World Soil Charter is urgently required to achieve this. 


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