Healthy soil is the foundation of the food system. (...) A key to soil restoration is to maximize the retention and recycling of organic matter and plant nutrients and to minimize losses of these soil components caused by leaching, run-off and erosion (FAO Soils Bulletin No 80, 2015)
Restoration of degraded lands
Originally large parts of the earth´s surface were covered by a robust vegetative cover, which among other helped to minimize soil and water losses.
However: as a consequence of the widespread application of unsustainable natural resource management practices such as the destruction of forests, overgrazing and the use of environmentally damaging agricultural practices, vast areas of land in both: "developed" and "developing" countries are presently affected by land degradation.
Apart from contributing to reduce the lands´ inherent sustainable production potential, advancing land degradation increases disaster risks and vulnerability towards changes of the climate regime.
Fortunately in many cases degraded lands still offer viable potentials for their at least partial restoration.
For the lasting restoration of degraded lands the site specific main degrading forces need to be identified and addressed in an integrated manner, including for example actions to control erosion, to foster sound water resource management and to (re-)establish appropriate vegetative structures.