Soil of the Year
Action Soil of the Year in Germany
There is no matter in nature that is more relevant and more worthy of contemplating than soil.
This sentence was already formed in 1862 by Frederic Albert Fallou and it has not lost its significance until today.
Why are soils in such a focus as they are?
Soils are valuable, because they provide the basis for food, because they are habitat for many animals, plants and microorganisms, they protect water resources and store and transform nutrients. Soil are buffering climate and they tell stories and hold treasuries. This incomplete list already shows that soils are multifunctional and not replaceable. They are a limited resource which has to be special considered to be protected. Because they are threatened in their multi-functionality by pollutants and chemical substances, climate change, sealing and erosion which are caused by any wrong or mal-adapted soil use. Any human activity uses soil in a direct or indirect way. Therefore, everybody is a “soil stakeholder” and has to take over responsibility. Unfortunately, only few people are aware of the relationship between food and soil, not to mention the multiple other functionalities, which are important for the humans and the environment. However, without the awareness how valuable soils are, soil conservation can not be successful. This insight, which means the understanding of soils and their problems, has to be build by education and knowledge transfer. Bada Dioum from Senegal formed the intelligent phrase:
In the end we will conserve only what we love,
we will love only what we understand,
and we will understand only what we are taught.
Start of the action
This was the background for members of the German Soil Science Society and the Federal Soil Association of Germany to initiate the action "Soil of the year" in 2004. A curatorship had prepared a concept for the start and a well documented selection about the first submitted nomination - the Chernozem. The next task was to initiate the preparation of material and the publication of flyers, posters and CD’s for documentation.
The curatorship organized the first presentation on the World Soil Day (December 5th, 2004).
The action is open for everybody with interest in soil and ideas!
We thank the Federal Environmental Office, Dessau, for the sponsorship.
We thank Dr. Christian Kersebaum, ZALF, for the translation.
More information and different material (flyer, poster, CDs):
Curatorship Soil of the Year
Speaker: Dr. Gerhard Milbert, Geologischer Dienst NRW, De-Greiff-Str. 195, D-47803 Krefeld,