Soil fulfils a wide range of functions. These include exploitative functions such as agriculture, forestry, minerals extraction and as a platform for development. It also includes passive functions such as carbon sequestration, providing the basis of ecosystems and a platform for leisure activities. Soil anywhere will almost invariably be supporting more than one function at any one time.
The soil resource, and its quality, is affected by a wide range of policies and actions, each of which is usually related to only a few of these functions. Also, each of these measures has generally been set to achieve the best overall outcome within its own terms of reference.