At the occasion of the World Soil Day international symposium in Paris, organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the French Soil Study Association (AFES), the JRC launched the French version of its European Atlas of Soil Biodiversity.
The Atlas presents a map for soil biodiversity covering most EU Member States, in order to guide decision-makers in protecting this crucial resource. Multiple threats to soil biodiversity have been included, such as land use change, habitat disruption, intensive human exploitation, invasive species, soil compaction, erosion and pollution. Each section is written by leading world experts and presents "life below ground" in an accessible way to non-specialists.
This 128-page atlas is the result of collaboration between the European Commission and partners from academia, industry and organisations such as the FAO and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). For the French edition of the Atlas, the JRC has worked with the French Agency for Environment and Energy (ADEME), the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the French Ministry for Ecology and Sustainable Development and many students from French universities and institutes.
World Soil day on 5 December, celebrates the importance of soil as a vital contributor to ecosystems' functioning, food, water and energy security and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss and climate change. Soil is perceived to be abundant, but it is a non-renewable resource. It takes around 100 years for 1cm of soil to form in temperate climates. Given that at least a quarter of the Earth’s biodiversity can be found in the soil, protecting this resource is an absolute necessity.