Soil health is the foundation upon which sustainable agriculture is built, and is significantly impacted by management practices. Healthy soils increase crops resilience to stresses such as heavy precipitation, periods of drought, and pest and disease pressure, this supports sustainable, long-term food production. Healthy soils also maintain a wide variety of ecological functions and deliver a wide variety of ‘public goods’.
Therefore, management for improved soil health delivers on the goals of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 by ensuring practices that support natural resource management, biodiversity, public health, and contribute to the economic regeneration of rural Wales.
Furthermore, the world’s soils play an important role in ensuring environmental sustainability and mitigating climate change. Soils hold three times more carbon than the atmosphere, soil is the largest terrestrial carbon store on Earth. However, soil can be both a source and sink of carbon emissions – this again can be attributed to management practices. Soils are also abundant with diverse life; more micro-organisms can be found in a teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on Earth. This biodiversity directly influences the fertility and productivity of soils.