Description

Healthy soil is the basis of those processes that provide us with food, water, a healthy environment, a stable climate, medicine, and much more. It can provide solutions to many of our most pressing global challenges. Restoring the soil’s biodiversity and ecosystem services will therefore be critical to the success of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030). So whether you are working in the economic, combined, or natural zone, restoring soil is the way to start.

In our toolbox you’ll find many tools that help you learn about soil, assess the state of your soil, improve soil biology, and monitor change. Whether you’d rather watch a video, read a book, listen to a podcast, or apply a hands-on tool; we’ve got you covered. 

Learn more about soil

🔧 The value of soil | This 5-minute video is a great way to start your soil journey. It explains graphically why we should care about soil, its current challenges, and solutions that we can all work on.

🔧 Soil is a living organism | A wonderful 12-minute animation video showing that soils do not need plows, fertilizers or pesticides. Plants can grow much better without all this.

🔧 Life in the Soil PodcastA new podcast by Dr. Matthias Rillig and colleagues from the Freie Universität Berlin that brings you the insights and voices of some of the world’s best soil scientists. Learn about soil biodiversity, why it matters, and how we can protect it.​​

🔧 State of knowledge of soil biodiversity | This report by FAO and many other partners and scientists zooms into the biodiversity right beneath our feet. It takes you through the state of knowledge on soil biodiversity, the threats to it, and the solutions that soil biodiversity can provide to problems in different fields. A great educational resource.

🔧  Global soil biodiversity Atlas | A first-ever complete soil atlas by the European Commission. It uses informative texts, stunning photographs and striking maps to answer and explain all your questions about soil.

🔧  Soil and Plant Ecology learning/teaching toolbox | Calling all teachers: this toolbox includes a wealth of short lecture materials and virtual learning aids, such as tests, videos, exercises, and manuals of practical work in the field of soil and plant ecology.

Investigate, assess, and restore soil

🔧 Soil Navigator | This tool was co-developed by scientists across 14 European counties. It allows you to assess the initial state of five soil functions within a field: primary productivity, nutrient cycling, water purification and regulation, carbon sequestration and climate regulation, and biodiversity and habitat provision.​​

🔧  Soils Revealed | A great mapping tool that allows you to visualise how past and future management changes soil organic carbon stocks globally. You can see past estimates, current numbers, and future projections of the soil organic carbon in any place in the world, explore future projections based on IPCC scenarios, and explore different areas by drawing them out on the map

🔧  iSDAsoil | This mapping tool, created with machine learning techniques, aims to increase capacity in farm-level decision-making. It provides soil information at the scale of individual small farms across Africa. The maps have an impressive resolution of 30 meters, encompassing 24 billion unique locations across Africa.

🔧  The Business Case for Investing in Soil Health | This report by WBCSD demonstrates that there is a compelling business case for investing in soil health. It includes case studies from 10 companies across the agricultural value chain on five continents.

That’s it (for now!). This is by no means an extensive list, but it might give some direction to further explore the soil world. If you know of another tool that has helped you understand or work with soils, we’d love to include it in the toolbox. Simply become a member (if you are not already), go to the tools page and click ‘add your own tool’.

What has inspired you to learn about or work with soil? Let us know in the comments!

Over 729 members are now active on 4returns.earth, connecting, sharing their field experiences, and creating new opportunities and initiatives together.

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