World Soil Day: December 5

Every year, the World Soil Day is celebrated on December 5. The day is celebrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) operating under the United Nations and also by several other international organizations. This year, the World Soil Day is celebrated under the theme

Theme: Keep Soil Alive, Protect Soil Biodiversity

This signifies the fact that the food security depends on the health of the soil.

Significance

Soil is home to one-fourth of the biodiversity of the earth. It is important to control soil pollution as bad soil management will affect the micro organisms below the ground. These microorganisms are working continuously to preserve the eco system. They help in fixing nitrogen that is essential for plant growth. They also add nutrients to the soil by the process of decomposition.

History

The International Union of Soil Sciences recommended to celebrate World Soil Day on December 5. Under the leadership of Thailand, the FAO supported the formal establishment of World Soil Day. The decision to celebrate the day was made under the Global Soil Partnership. The first World Soil Day was celebrated in 2014.

Why was December 5 chosen?

The day corresponds to the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. He was the main proponent of the initiative.

Soil Conservation in India

India focuses on regional soil conservation programmes. For instance, the Cherrapunjee Ecological Project was launched to enhance soil moisture in Sohra Plateau.

However, the Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Yojana that focuses on development of ranfed farming systems in the country, focuses on soil quality all over India. Also, the Soil Health Card Scheme was launched.

Major Soil Conservation Practices

The major soil conservation programmes are reduced tillage, crop rotation, cross-slope farming, cover cropping and mulching. The Government of India implements mixed cropping, mixed farming, controlled grazing, construction of check dams, etc. Also, the GoI has imposed ban on shifting cultivation.

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