The US Department of Agriculture defines soil health as “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.” But what does the term mean in practice, and why does it matter for human health, agricultural productivity, and ecosystem resilience? On December 17, 2019, Resources for the Future (RFF) and Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for Sustainability hosted an event, "Healthy Soils for a Healthier Planet," where we explored these questions and highlighted the important role of soil health in finding climate solutions.
The RFF Live event opened with a short primer on soil health, including an overview of the current health of US soils, what healthier soils might look like in the future, and how research suggests we can foster such improvements. A panel of experts shared perspectives from various sectors—government, industry, and the conservation community—on how practices, technologies, and policies related to soil health are evolving.
- Maria Bowman, Soil Health Partnership
- Sally Flis, The Fertilizer Institute
- Eileen McLellan, Environmental Defense Fund
- Under Secretary Bill Northey, US Department of Agriculture
- Harold van Es, Cornell University
- Moderator: Ann M. Bartuska, Resources for the Future