Joint press release by the German Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Ten million hectares of arable land worldwide are 'lost' every year
Less and less fertile and healthy soil
The International Year of Soils has come to an end, but soil protection is far from reaching its aim. About ten million hectares of arable land are lost around the globe every year, an area equivalent to nearly 14 million football fields. One quarter of the world's soils already has significantly less humus and nutrients than 25 years ago and can no longer be used as cropland. The main reasons: land reclamation by deforestation, slash and burn practices, ploughing up of lands, and agricultural practices which are not adapted to the special conditions of its location. "Fertile and healthy soils are a basic requirement to secure our food supply. The degradation of soil is the cause of hunger and malnutrition – and hence conflicts and migration", said Maria Krautzberger, President of the German Environment Agency (UBA) on World Soil Day.