Soil Evolution and Sustainability

Soils contribute to major ecosystem services (as defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005) by playing a crucial role in provisioning food and fibers, regulating water and geochemical cycles and delivering cultural services. Soils are rich in biodiversity and provide the habitat for a large number of species, many yet to be fully described. Due to this central role of soils in the delivery of ecosystem goods and services, the Soil Security concept was introduced to help Soil Science to be translated into policy guidelines for sustainable development and to be included in the Global Agenda (Koch et al., 2013; Bouma et al., 2019). Soils are indeed keys for reaching many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Especially SDG 2, related to fighting hunger and achieving food security, as well as SDG 15, on protecting the terrestrial environment for future generations, imply the application of sustainable soil management at the global scale. The IPCC report on Climate Change and Land names land and soil degradation through erosion, organic matter decline, contamination, soil sealing, compaction, loss of biodiversity or salinization as key challenges related to land use change (IPCC, 2019). Achieving food security and the elimination of hunger while simultaneously protecting our terrestrial environment is a great challenge that requires extensive, multidisciplinary research, including also human and social sciences: economists, geographers, sociologists, and urban planners.