World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources for a food-secure future. The date of 5 December for WSD was chosen because it corresponds with the official birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event
Soil is home to more than 1/4 of our planet's biodiversity. Yet, we only know 1% of this universe. There are more living creatures in a single teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on Earth. Soil organisms are responsible for many critical ecosystem processes on which humans depend: from supporting plant growth, to storing carbon and being a vast reservoir for pharmaceuticals.
But soil biodiversity is under threat. Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years, with a staggering 26.4 billion tons of soil lost each year, a rate that is 10 times faster than soil is being replenished. Soil erosion is also a significant yet largely overlooked contributor to carbon emissions.
In support of this year's theme - 'Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity' - Elsevier presents a curated, open access collection of over 60 journal articles to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy soil ecosystems.