Soils and life – a broad, direct relationship

The United Nations (UN) has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. One of the main goals of the year consists in raising awareness about the deep importance of soils for humankind among decision makers and the civil society. 

Indispensable to life on Earth, soils are not always seen in their essence – something that is actually broader than it looks and that requires special attention from governments, science and the entire society. 
 
In Academia, the soil is no longer seen as a biological being, but rather as an element that influences and is influenced by the biosphere – represented by all living beings. Today there is an understanding that the soil is involved in all planetary processes.
 
In view of soils' relationship with different spheres, there have been new developments such as medical geology, which studies how soil and water are influenced and influence public health in the light of geological conditions.
 
The water crisis that has crossed the borders of the Northeastern hinterlands and spread through Brazil has revealed weaknesses in soil management. Problems such as erosion and impermeability, in addition to reducing soil nutrient amounts, also hinder water permeability to recharge rivers and aquifers. 
 
Soils are also intimately linked to climate issues. The Brazilian government's Low Carbon Agriculture Program, which aims at reducing carbon emissions, was an important step towards the establishment of national knowledge bases. By surveying and monitoring areas with different management levels, it will be possible to learn how much carbon is being captured from the atmosphere. On that matter, no-till farming systems and reforestation of cleared areas has sensibly contributed to carbon sequestration.
 
On this page, you will find some of Embrapa's contributions to correct soil management in the Brazilian territory, including technological solutions, ongoing projects, publications, videos, Q&A, and news.