Soil Protection Solutions beyond the International Year of Soils
The World Soil Day on December 5th 2015 marked the end of the International Year of Soils. Throughout this past year, various activities and efforts took place to raise awareness of the profound importance of soils for human life and to promote soil protection. Soils deliver essential ecosystem services such as food, fiber and biomass production, water and nutrient cycling and the storage of carbon. The protection of this resource also plays a key role in mitigating and adapting to climate change. As the International Year of Soils comes to an end, the need to stop and reverse soil degradation remains acute. In partnership with researchers across Europe, Ecologic Institute will continue to actively contribute to the development of solutions for soil protection.
Some of our key soil-focused projects include:
Updated Inventory and Assessment of Soil Protection Policy Instruments in EU Member States (2015-2016), led by Ecologic Institute, this project aims to take stock of existing soil policy instruments in the EU in order to identify gaps in protection and to support the decision-making process for further policy action. Collaborating closely with experts from 28 EU Member States, the project develops a Wiki-based inventory and an up-to-date assessment of soil policy instruments in the EU.
- RECARE project (2013-2018), funded by the EU 7th Framework Research Programme, which aims to fill knowledge gaps on soils and develop management measures and policies to combat soil degradation. Ecologic Institute leads the integrated impact assessment of European and national soil-related policies. Options for improving the coherence and integration of soil protection policies will also be developed.
- Soil³ project (2015–2018), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Ecologic Institute evaluates the socio-economic effects and social acceptance of options for subsoil management, as well as ecosystem services associated with subsoils.
- Implementing the Global Goals for Soils (2015-2017), commissioned by the German Federal Environmental Agency, where Ecologic Institute develops proposals for the implementation of soil-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a national and global scale. The project work includes a working definition of soil degradation and neutrality, an analysis of the existing activities contributing to the implementation of soil-related SDGs and a discussion of indicators for soil monitoring and risk assessment.
- Ecologic Institute also contributes to the discussions around the inclusion of the Land-use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector in the 2020-2030 climate and energy framework of the EU. In this area, we are building among others on the recently concluded SmartSOIL project where management options and policy recommendations were developed for improving soil carbon management in European arable and mixed farming systems.
As part of an international community of scientists and policy-makers, Ecologic Institute remains committed to increasing awareness of the importance of soils for achieving social and environmental goals and to developing effective policy solutions for soil protection. A central focus of this work is not only the development of solutions within the core soil science and policy but also the integration in related policy areas with large impact on soils, such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, urban development, agriculture, water and food systems.
For further information on our work related to soil protection please contact Dr. Ana Frelih-Larsen, Coordinator Agriculture & Soils.