The University of Georgia Costa Rica 2014-2015 Sustainability Report UGA Costa Rica 2014 - 2015 Sustainability Report - Page 40

Soil Ecosystem Services Soils are composed of three main ingredients: minerals of different sizes, organic materials from the remains of dead plants and animals, and open space that can be filled with water or air. 25 percent water A good soil for growing most plants should have the following: 5 percent organic matter The terrestrial landscape is facing drastic changes unlike any seen in human history. Problems ranging from desertification to water quality threaten to impact the way humans currently utilize natural resources in the ecosystems we inhabit. 40 45 percent minerals (sand, silt, clay) University of Georgia Costa Rica Soils are the foundation of these ecosystems, representing the top ~1.4 meters of land on the earth’s exposed surface. While there is no agreed method to provide a value on the services soil provide, researchers have estimated worldwide soil ecosystem services provide up to $11 trillion in services per year. It is crucial, especially at this junction in time, to better understand and maintain the ecosystem supporting processes that soils facilitate. For this reason, the 25 percent air 45% 25% 25% 5% 68th General Assembly of the United Nations has declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils. The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization has been instructed to raise awareness of the “profound importance of soil for human life” and to promote international investments in sustainable soil management activities. In line with this proclamation, UGACR hopes to increase awareness of soil ecosystem services and the management efforts