Statement by Elizabeth Maruma Mrema
Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
on the occasion of World Soil Day
5 December 2021
“Halt soil salination, boost soil productivity”
Soil biodiversity underpins the functioning of ecosystems that provide essential functions and services to sustain food and water security and deliver multiple benefits to virtually all facets of sustainable development.
Soil biota plays an important role in maintaining healthy soils through a wide range of ways, through nutrient cycling, carbon storage, improving water retention and reducing the risk of soil erosion. Certain soil biota can also help resist pests, pathogens and diseases, and increase plant tolerance to drought, toxicity and salination.
While salt in soils occurs naturally, many soils around the world are suffering from salination due to several factors. Unsustainable agricultural practices such as improper irrigation and fertilizer use, deforestation, and overuse of groundwater can cause large amounts of salt to accumulate within agroecosystems, degrading the landscape and making them less productive. These factors are often exacerbated when coupled with the impacts of climate change and land degradation.