Chapter 7: Policy, Education, and Outreach

Since the ancient ages, people have shown interest in studying soil creatures and understanding the roles that they play in providing services to people’s daily life. Research into soil biodiversity has boomed worldwide over the last years thanks to the newly available DNA-based technologies. Not only scientists are fascinated by the immense life beneath our feet. Changes in the way human society interacts with nature requires changes in its perception. Education, awareness activities, and citizen science projects have increased the appreciation of the services offered by soil organisms. Such efforts have also raised behaviors to sustainably manage and conserve the soil natural capital to benefit future generations. As a result, people are increasingly conscious of the value and beauty of soil organisms. A key message that also needs to reach policy makers to promote the development of specific policies for soil biodiversity. While actions to protect and support biodiversity and soil are present in many countries, measures to protect soil life have not been established yet. Chapter 7 of the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas covers all these aspects, from historical knowledge and current research into soil biodiversity to education and policy for soil life protection. The chapter message is clear and simple: our own lives would not be possible without soil biodiversity.


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summary written by Dr. Fatima Moreira, University of Lavras, and Dr. Alberto Orgiazzi, European Commission Joint Research Centre