Ethiopia is making maps to help improve soil health

Healthy soils are vital to human survival. They play a pivotal role in feeding global populations – after all, food is grown in soil. Healthy soils grow more crops and allow for nutrients to be better absorbed by the crops. That’s why it’s important to understand exactly when there might be a problem with the soil of a particular area, and what’s causing it. Without a precise diagnosis, soil can’t be successfully treated.

Soil health is a matter of striking the right combination of chemical, physical and biological properties. Soil is made up of mineral particles including sand, silt and clay; organic matter – such as plant and animal residue – air and water. By looking at these we can determine how healthy, or unhealthy, soil is – for example whether it is able to retain water, store carbon and resist erosion.