The Week in Soil

The UN’s annual World Soil Day took place this week on 5 December, and with it came a plethora of content and discussion around soil. The year’s ‘be the solution to soil pollution’ theme focused attention on the myriad ways soils are mistreated around the globe and the critical need to support degraded soils back to health. On the day itself, they warned that soil pollution is currently ‘jeopardizing’ life on earth

Watch their video for tips on how you can support soil back to health.

Read the FAO Report ‘Soil Pollution: a Hidden Reality’ here.

 The government marked the day by highlighting the importance of soil health for productive farming and a healthy natural environment.

The founder of Riverford Organics released a video calling for an end to the ‘violent, one-size fits all’ approach to soil management.

Farming Weekly elaborates on what the day means for the Agricultural sector and provides 5 ways farmers can help to achieve sustainable soils

Down to Earth discusses soil health as the root to food security and human health, also citing the halting of rural migration and climate change mitigation. It highlights solutions being used to tackle the problem in India where 71% of cultivated land is nearing infertility.

And America’s Soil Health Partnership celebrated by announcing the expansion of their pilot scheme to give more farmers access to their network.

Soil at COP24:

The FAO Land & Water Division launched their latest discussion paper at COP24 in Poland, which centres around Nature-Based Solutions for agricultural water management and food security. It evaluated 21 case studies in order to precipitate learning in the field.

In a commentary piece in Nature Put more carbon in soils to meet Paris climate pledges scientists have highlighted 8 actions deemed necessary to increase global soil carbon. They state “The potential benefits are too large to ignore.”

A CPRE report, published on Monday (3 December), Back to the land: rethinking our approach to soil, found that intensive farming practices, such as inversion ploughing, overgrazing and compaction from heavy machinery, has led to almost three million tonnes of topsoil being eroded every year across the UK. It calls for a radical rethink of farm practices and soil management.

 The Top of the Tree Productions has produced the Carbon Farmer, a film imagining a world where farming practices support the restoration of our peatlands for the benefits of climate change mitigation, biodiversity, water quality and public health.

Professor Rattal Lal, President of the International Union of Soil Science, has won this year’s Glinka Soil Prize for his outstanding contribution to the field of sustainable soil management. He has previously been listed among the world’s most influential scientific minds and the top 1% of researchers in agriculture.  More details here.