Debate on global soil degradation, its extent and agronomic impact, can only be resolved through understanding of the processes and factors leading to establishment of the cause–effect relationships for major soils, ecoregions, and land uses. Systematic evaluation through long–term experimentation is needed for establishing quantitative criteria of (i) soil quality in relation to specific functions; (ii) soil degradation in relation to critical limits of key soil properties and processes; and (iii) soil resilience in relation to the ease of restoration through judicious management and discriminate use of essential input. Quantitative assessment of soil degradation can be obtained by evaluating its impact on productivity for different land uses and management systems. Interdisciplinary research is needed to quantify soil degradation effects on decrease in productivity, reduction in biomass, and decline in environment quality throught pollution and eutrophication of natural waters and emission of radiatively–active gases from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. Data from long–term field experiments in principal ecoregions are specifically needed to (i) establish relationships between soil quality versus soil degradation and soil quality versus soil resilience; (ii) identify indicators of soil quality and soil resilience; and (iii) establish critical limits of important properties for soil degradation and soil resilience. There is a need to develop and standardize techniques for measuring soil resilience.