Soil fertility is the ability of a soil to sustain plant growth by providing essential plant nutrients and favorable chemical, physical, and biological characteristics as a habitat for plant growth. Fertile soils are able to produce healthy food with all the necessary nutrients for a healthy person.
The impacts of soil fertility are reflected in most of the Sustainable Development Goals, as they contain economic, social and environmental aspects. The main function provided by a fertile soil is the provision of food, which is very important considering FAO’s Zero hunger objective. A fertile soil also provides essential nutrients for plant growth, to produce healthy food with all the necessary nutrients needed for human health. Moreover, fertility has an impact on activities with an economic impact and is therefore related to economic growth and the fight against poverty. Finally, good management of soil fertility can help reduce soil, water and air pollution, regulate water resources availability, support a diverse and active biotic community, increase vegetation cover and allows for carbon neutral footprint.
The objective is to adjust agricultural operations to the varying yield potentials of sub-areas of fields. Variation in fertilizer dose rate according to local conditions can lead to an optimization of nutrient utilization. The site-specific yield potential is mostly determined by the attributes of the field but also by unpredictable weather conditions.
‘Resources, Infrastructure and Capabilities Inventory (RICI)’ is an online platform for policy stakeholders. RICI provides access to a pool of specialized scientists and experts at local, regional and national level across Europe. The online inventory is the ‘Yellow pages’ on expertise on soil science in relation to questions for policy matters.