Soil and land

Assess the current state of your land and water resources

Our Geospatial products provide access to land and water information, plus analysis and interpretation to help you make better decisions in managing your farm.


Soil is the biologically active zone where air, water, sunlight and the earth's crust interact. Without this incredible interaction, there would be no human life on earth. Soil provides the basis on which we build homes, cities and transportation networks. In addition to the active use of soil by humans, the world's soils are essential in maintaining the quality of our environment. Soils store, transport and purify water. They also store and detoxify harmful waste products.

  • Soil management
    Information about practices that can be tailored to combat erosion, increase organic matter and improve soil structure. This section also includes information on tillage systems, forage and crop rotations.
  • Soil nutrients
    Information about nutrient management planning, manure, and soil fertility.
  • Soil and water
    Information about irrigation, water management, drought, water quality, and riparian areas (that is, wetlands beside rivers and streams).
  • Our Home and Native Land: Significant Agricultural Soils across Canada
    The "Dirt" on significant agricultural soils by province/territory.

Soil quality indicators


Land describes the interaction of air, soil, water and natural resources. Agriculture practices are constantly changing so we are able to produce crops on farmland and such land can be maintained in the long-term.

Most of the land in Canada suited to agriculture is already in use. Although the total amount of farmland is relatively constant, important changes have occurred within the areas used for farming, such as reductions in summerfallow areas, shifts in cropping patterns, more intensive production in some areas, and conversion of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses.

  • Land management through grazing
    Information about grazing management and its benefits.
  • Riparian areas
    Information on riparian zones (bordering water bodies whose vegetation is dominated by water loving species) and how they play a vital role in conserving soil and biodiversity, and influencing aquatic health.

Biodiversity indicators

AAFC has developed two agri-environmental indicators to assess the impact of agriculture on our biodiversity:

  • The Wildlife habitat capacity on farmland indicator tracks the capacity of Canadian farmland to provide feeding and breeding habitat for wildlife. When combined with the Soil Cover Indicator, it provides a snapshot of biodiversity potential on farmland in Canada.
  • The Soil cover indicator summarizes the effective number of days in a year that agricultural soils are covered by vegetation, crop residue or snow. When combined with the Wildlife Habitat Capacity Indicator, it provides a snapshot of biodiversity potential on farmland in Canada.
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