Nearly all of the food and fibres used by humans are produced on soil. Soil is also essential for water and ecosystem health. It is second only to the oceans as a global carbon sink, with an important role in the potential slowing of climate change. Soil functions depend on a multitude of soil organisms which makes it an important part of our biodiversity. Nevertheless, soil in many parts of Europe is being over-exploited, degraded and irreversibly lost due to impacts from industrial activities and land use change, leading to soil sealing, contamination, erosion and loss of organic carbon. Due to these problems, legislation for the protection of soils has been proposed at EU level.
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