EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Soils and Economy - Snapshots on Europe and Southern Africa

Uwe Meyer
Uwe Meyer
  • Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), B2: Ground Water and Soil, Hannover, Germany (

Soils are often underestimated and overlooked in reviewing national economic structures. Soils and groundwater are the essential basics for food production. Beyond securing nourishment, quantity and quality of soils are pivotal factors in farming, forestry and further land use. The potential of soils governs the availability and variety of its products for national food security and trading. In most industrial European countries, farming has only a share of about 1% of the national gross domestic product but secures vital needs. In the Sub-Saharan region, the same share varies between 16% and 20%, largely depending on regional weather, water availabilty and soil quality. The largest threats are climate change and depletion of soils. Whereas European countries aim for steadily increasing sustainability, countries in Southern Africa are often struggling between short term profits, preservation of soils and necessary climate adaptions. The study sheds some light on the different roles of soils in European and Southern African economies, their inter-dependencies, the necessity to map quantities and qualities of soils for managemant measures and growing needs with a still fastly rising population in Southern-Africa. 

How to cite: Meyer, U.: Soils and Economy - Snapshots on Europe and Southern Africa, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-6715,, 2023.