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International Year of Soils: July 2015

Soils are living

By Diego Flammini,

As declared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2015 is being observed as the International Year of Soils.

Organizations including Soil Sciences Society of America and Union of Soil Sciences are doing their part to educate people on the important roles soil play in daily life. Many roles that go underappreciated and overlooked.


\Each month, Soil Sciences Society of America (SSSA) produces a short video highlighting the month’s theme.

The theme for July is “Soils are living.”

“The real story of soil is much different,” says SSSA’s Jim Toomey in the educational video. Soil is a living, dynamic (and) natural resource. It helps us grow food, fibre and fuel.”

While the soil itself gets much of the spotlight, there are things happening behind the scenes that attribute to soil’s importance.

“Larger animals (like gophers) depend on soil for protection from weather and predators,” said Toomey.

Ever wonder why earthworms come out after its been raining?

“Their homes were flooded,” Toomey said.

Earthworms act as a plow, constantly turning and tilling the soil. When earthworms surface, the holes in the ground allow water to penetrate deep into the soil so it can collect nutrients. Ants provide a similar service when they dig underground to accommodate the growing colonies.

Be sure to revisit the previous months during the International Year of Soils.

January – Soils Sustain Life
February – Soils Support Urban Life
March – Soils Support Agriculture
April – Soils Clean and Capture Water
May – Soils Support Buildings and Infrastructure
June – Soils Support Recreation

August’s theme is Soils Support Health.

Join the conversation and tell us the things you’ve learned about soil during the International Year of Soils.

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