A map of global soil degradation

Last year I ran a soil week on the blog, with a whole week of posts about soil, how it’s lost and how it can be protected. I had far more material than I could use, as it happens – or at least more than I could publish without boring you all completely. So I saved a few things for later. (If you missed it, I made a one-off magazine on soil with all the content from that week, and you can download that here.)

Soil health is one of the least recognised environmental issues, but it’s a serious one. 30% of the world’s land has already been affected by soil degradation of one kind or another – erosion, compacting, pollution, etc. This reduces the land’s productivity, lowers its ability to sequester carbon, and costs us an estimated . It’s hard to think of many things that cost us so much that are so easily forgotten.

Here’s a map of the world’s degraded soils:

global-soil-degradation

That’s bad news. The good news is that degraded soil can be restored, and I’ve mentioned many different projects in the past that could play a role, from precision farming to restorative energy systems using grass or cactus, to marine farming, to the Great Green Wall, or the regreening of Ethiopia.

3 comments

  1. Thank you for the soil magazine! I am trying to save my soil, and can use every bit of advice that’s available.

  2. The map shows Kazakhstan grain belt to have very degraded soil. In fact all major grain areas look very degraded.

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