In celebration of the International Year of Soil 2015 (IYS), the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout the year to educate the public about the importance of soil. November’s theme is “Soils and Climate”. In SSSA’s November 1 Soils Matter blog post, experts explain what desertification is and ways to prevent it.

According to SSSA’s November monthly leader, Eric Brevik, desertification is the rapid loss of top soil and plant life from previously productive land. “One-third of Earth’s land area in more than 100 countries (including the United States) is at risk of desertification.” Brevik is a professor at Dickinson State University.

The overgrazing of animals on rangeland can be a cause of desertification, but good farming and property management practices can prevent it. “China and Africa face some of the most severe challenges,” says Brevik. “China is taking some steps to address desertification with crop cover and with plans to plant trees along the border of the Gobi Desert to help decrease dust storms and desertification.”

To read the entire blog post, visit http://soilsmatter.wordpress.com.

As part of their celebration of IYS, SSSA is developing a series of twelve 2-minute educational videos. November’s “Soils and Climate” video can be viewed at www.soils.org/iys/monthly-videos. Educational materials can be viewed at www.soils.org/iys.