Little shrew
Soil biodiversity reflects the variability among living organisms including micro-organisms not visible with the naked eye, and macro-fauna like this little shrew.
Photo:Marija Šajgen, Russia.

Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity

Plants nurture a whole world of creatures in the soil, that in return feed and protect the plants. This diverse community of living organisms keeps the soil healthy and fertile. This vast world constitutes soil biodiversity and determines the main biogeochemical processes that make life possible on Earth.

This year, by addressing the increasing challenges of soil management, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) campaign "Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity" aims to raise awareness of the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. By encouraging people around the world to engage in proactively improving soil health, the campaign also aims to fight soil biodiversity loss. If we do not act soon, the fertility of soil will continue to be adversely affected at an alarming rate, threatening global food supplies and food safety.

Encouraging all people to participate, FAO has created a thematic website full of information, initiatives and material to spread the message through different multimedia platforms.

Join us!

Background

World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.

An international day to celebrate Soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, FAO has supported the formal establishment of WSD as a global awareness raising platform. The FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day in June 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the UN General Assembly responded by designating 5 December 2014 as the first official World Soil Day.

Why 5 December?

The date of 5 December was chosen because it corresponds with the official birthday of the late H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, who was one of the main proponents of this initiative.

Did you know?

  • Soil is a living resource, home to more than 25% of our planet's biodiversity
  • It is estimated that only 1% of soil microorganism species are currently known compared to 80% of plant species
  • Up to 90% of living organisms live or spend part of their lifecycle in soils
  • Soil organisms can break down certain contaminants.

Events

You will find many initiatives worldwide. Check the map and register your event!

FAO will announce on WSD20 the winners of its important awards:

World Soil Day logo 2019

FAO, through its World Soil Day website, is raising the profile of healthy soil by encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to engage in proactively improving soil health.

Small beetle running

Discover the winners and finalists of the FAO Global Soil Partnership's "Soil Biodiversity" photo challenge. You can also help create a buzz about World Soil Day with the communication available in several languages.

Geometric illustration with the Secretariat building at UNHQ, New York.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.