The black soil region in Northeast China is one of the world’s four black soil regions. It is well known for its high organic matter content and high fertility. It is not only the basis for the development of agriculture in Northeast China, but also the granary of China, which plays a decisive role in safeguarding the national food security. According to the characteristics and problems of black soil in Northeast China, this review first elucidates the forming conditions of the black soil and the natural characteristics. Secondly, we describe the evolution of soil properties and fertility in the process of the reclamation of black soil. The soil organic matter content and soil fertility decreased significantly, which have severely affected the sustainable development of agriculture in black soil region in Northeastern China. Besed on this analysis, different protection pathways and their controlling mechanisms on soil fertility are analyzed. Future research on black soil should be emphasized on the development of new technologies, new methods, and cross-disciplinary theories to ascertain the evolutional characteristics of soil fertility and their influencing factors. It is necessary to cultivate high-yield, high-quality crop varieties that are more suitable for the climatic conditions in Northeast China, to optimize the cropping system in combination with the current technological regulation pattern in this region, to improve the quality and yield of crops, to increase the overall productivity and competitiveness of agriculture soil, and finally to ensure the sustainable use of agriculture in the black soil region.