Posted on Lipiec 5, 2007


The soil provides the main foundation for human activity and housing. It is a limited and fragile resource, however: erosion, the loss of organic matter, landslides and various forms of contamination are among the problems that Europe’s environment policy seeks to address.
Soil is generally defined as the top layer of the earth’s crust. It is a very dynamic system which performs many functions * and is vital to human activities and to the survival of ecosystems. As soil formation and regeneration is an extremely slow process, soil is considered a non-renewable resource.

The main degradation processes to which EU soil is subject are erosion, decline in organic matter, contamination, salinisation, compaction, decline in biodiversity, sealing, floods and landslides.

Soil degradation is a serious problem in Europe. It is driven or exacerbated by human activity such as inadequate agricultural and forestry practices, industrial activities, tourism, urban and industrial sprawl and construction works.
The impact of this includes loss of soil fertility, carbon and biodiversity, lower water-retention capacity, disruption of gas and nutrient cycles and reduced degradation of contaminants. Soil degradation has a direct impact on water and air quality, biodiversity and climate change. It can also impair the health of European citizens and threaten food and feed safety.

The impact analysis carried out in line with Commission guidelines using available data shows that soil degradation could cost up to EUR 38 billion per year.

Posted in: climate change