Soils form the vital, thin skin of the earth. Soil scientists therefore deal with the chemical, physical and biological processes that are important for the maintenance of important functions in water and matter balance of ecosystems. Soils must be protected against damage caused by incorrect management, erosion or pollutant inputs, so that they can continue to fulfill their functions and provide their services.


The protection of soil

In order to draw public attention to the great importance of the maintenance of these functions, there are national and international actions which underline the importance of the protection of soils.

In this context, 2015 was designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the "International Year of Soils". Furthermore, every year on 5 December, the "World Soil Day" takes place, which is called by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS).

The project "Bodenatlas Deutschland" (Atlas of the Soils of Germany) from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources has emerged from the "International Year of Soils". As a result of this project, "Bodenatlas Deutschland – Böden in thematischen Karten" (Atlas of the Soils of Germany – Soils in thematic maps) has been developed, which contains comprehensive information on the soils of Germany.