Happy World Soil Day! (Dec. 5)

High soil salinity impacts crop yield for local Barley producer. (photo: Hanuszak, 2019)

Established in 2014 by the United Nations, World Soil Day is celebrated every year on December 5th, with the goal of spotlighting the importance of healthy soils and sustainable soil management. This year, the theme of World Soil Day is Soil Salinization. 

Soil Salinization is the process that occurs when salts, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, etc., accumulate in the soil. While some salts are good for plant and soil health, too much of these salts leads to all sorts of problems with plant growth and soil structure. 

To see the global extent of soil salinization, check out this page published by the FAO.

If you are curious about the soils around the Lower Mainland, here are some openly available sources for you to explore:

For this year’s world soil day, The Botanical Garden and UBC Farm are collaborating with the Pacific Regional Soil Science Society (PRSSS) to highlight the soil salinity in BC:

Soils of the lower mainland are affected by salinization, particularly near the coast. This low-lying region has a high water table and soils with a high clay content. These features, coupled with sea level rise, are increasing salinity levels in the Fraser River, where farmers draw water from to irrigate their crops. In a 2015 survey by Thiel et al., 76% of farmers in Delta and Richmond reported that salinity was an issue on their farms. Salinization presents challenges for crop production in this fertile region. To see how soil salinity impacts plant growth, check out the FAO’s soil salinity page here


For more reading on this topic, check out this online textbook: Digging Into Canadian Soils: An Introduction to Soil Science


The City of Vancouver also proclaimed it as Word Soil Day on December 5th.



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