Life above ground depends on the soil and its countless inhabitants. Yet, global strategies to protect biodiversity have so far paid little attention to this habitat. In the journal Science, an international team of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), Leipzig University (UL) and Colorado State University calls for greater consideration of soils in international biodiversity strategies. Their relevance far beyond agriculture must be recognised. In order to make the status and performance of soils more visible, the researchers explain their plan for systematic recording.