Understanding Why the UN Annually Commemorates World Soil Day

Understanding Why the UN Annually Commemorates World Soil Day

Every December 5, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN celebrates the World Soil Day to highlight the importance of keeping the soil healthy. There is a need to remind populations across the globe of how healthy soil, not only makes life on earth possible. It also serves as one of the largest defense actions against the effects of climate change.


Yet the sad reality is that despite the annual celebration of World Soil Day since 2013, about a third of the planet’s soil has been badly degraded. So much so that it has resulted to food shortages and natural calamities like flooding, landslides, erosions and drought. In fact, occurrences are getting worse with each passing year.

One of the most overlooked aspect of land degradation is soil compaction. This environmental problem has grown in geographical areas that have been experiencing dramatic increases in the use of farm equipment, and occurrences of precipitations that often leave the soil in wet condition.

What Makes Compaction an Unhealthy Soil Condition?

Precipitations turn soft soil into mud, which presses the particles together, resulting to reduced pore space in the ground structure. The condition limits the capability of the soil to absorb great amounts of water, nutrients and helpful gases from the air.

Tillage and use of heavy farm equipment will all the more worsen the damage to the structure of the soil as the compacted state makes the ground stronger and highly resistant to applied force. However, letting the ground remain in a compacted condition makes the soil unhealthy for vegetation. Mainly because plant roots will have to exert greater effort to reach water and nutrients from a densely compacted soil.

While improving soil structure is the only solution, protection must be provided as defense against soil compaction. Now more than ever ground protection is important in light of the increasing occurrences of precipitations and flooding; as well as the continuous application of pressures brought about by heavy equipment and massive foot traffic during outdoor events.

Use of Ground Protection Mats as Protection Against Soil Compaction

In most construction sites, crane mats are commonly used in order to make uneven ground a lot safer as the protective soil cover prevents cranes from falling over. At the same time, the protective mats can also prevent soil compaction as the weight of the heavy equipment will be distributed evenly across the bare earth in which the crane maneuvers.

Even in construction areas in which heavy equipment is not in use, protective ground covers help reduce the impact of worker foot traffic that can also increase the likelihood of soil compaction. Actually, local governments now urge the building industry to use the appropriate types of protective ground covering as protection in all ground areas where heavy transport equipment and machinery can cause soil degradation.

During holding of outdoor events such as company meets, weddings and music festivals, planners and organizers are required to put in place protective ground mats. Here foot traffic not only means increased treading but also kicking, jumping and other actions that agitate the soil.

Lest the people in different parts of the globe forget, the World Soil Day every December 05 aims to remind people why protecting the soil is an important environmental action to take