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Soil News stories

Science & Research News

Science & Research News

1 Oct: A paper in the latest edition of Environmental Science & Policy maps the differing societal expectations around use of agricultural soils across European countries.

23 Aug: New review of soil contributions to bio-geochemical dynamics’ impact on future climate change focuses on the importance of microbial community variation on decomposition and turnover of soil organic matter.

22 Aug: A group of researchers may have found a way to reverse falling crop yields caused by salinity rising in farmland throughout the world, using bacteria from salt-tolerant plants to inoculate crops.

23 Aug: Compost, rather than cover cropping, could be the key to carbon sequestration in soil, according to a 19-year long study from the University of California.

22 Aug: Individuals are being encouraged to create ‘pocket peat & wetlands’ in their gardens to lock down more carbon in the soil.

7 Aug: New research has identified the importance of cover cropping for soil health and highlights need to develop innovative ways to support farmers to use the practice.

7 Aug: A US study reveals American farming is 48x more toxic than 25 years ago, largely due to use of neonicotinoids which pervade in the environment for years.

6 Aug: A new tool can identify active soil microbes and help researchers narrow in on soil microbiomes to uncover how they might affect soil processes.

5 Aug: New research has found the potential of the Amazon to act as carbon sink could be limited due to a lack of nutrients – namely phosphorous – in the soil.

5 Aug: Researchers have discovered a new way of creating antibiotics through an enzyme called nonribosomal peptide synthetase which exists in soil bacteria.

1 Aug: The aviation industry is turning its attention to land, and the FAO has produced a Recarbonisation of Global Soils report as a dynamic response to offset global emissions.

Politics & Policy News

Politics & Policy News

20 Aug: The UK government has launched its call for evidence on the new National Food Strategy - deadline for contributions is 25 October.

17 Aug: Environment Agency Chair Emma Howard Boyd has written a critical response to the Times’ article on the EA’s failure to punish farmers for polluting rivers, attempting to put the facts straight.

16 Aug: New requirements for soil sampling are to come in to effect in Northern Ireland in January, with their Nutrients Action Programme 2019-22.

8 Aug: The IPCC released its landmark Land Use & Climate Change report, with detail on the damage the climate crisis is doing to land and how land, in turn, can help mitigate the crisis if managed effectively.

2 Aug: The Commons EFRA Committee launched an inquiry in to the State of Peatland in England: how peatland has been degraded, environmental impacts of that degradation, and how it can be restored

15 July: We responded to the government’s consultation on tenant farmers. Read our views on tenancy reform and soil health here.

10 July: Read the full transcript of the recent House of Lords discussion on soil health and provision for soils in forthcoming policy here.

10 July: The UK’s Climate Change Committee published their progress report restating the need for urgent action & suggests credibility of net zero target relies on government action in next 18 months. Reformed land use recommendations include an effective post-CAP framework, major afforestation & a peat strategy for England.

13 June: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism & the Guardian have found UK ammonia emissions are rising due to government inaction. Taking simple measures to cut it would significantly improve air quality and save 3000 lives/year.

13 June: Satellites and drones are being used by the Environment Agency to identify soil loss and run-off problems in wet conditions and farms that could be at risk if they do not improve their soil management practices.

Stakeholder & Supporter News

Stakeholder & Supporter News

23 Aug: Sustainable Food Trust founder Patrick Holden is holding an open weekend at his organic dairy farm in West Wales on 14/15 Sept. Talks on policy, advocacy, sustainability, education & more.

12 Aug: Former SSA adviser Dr. Anna Krzywoszynska of Sheffield University has been appointed to the European Commission Assembly for Soil Health and Food.

8 Aug: The annual 24 Hours in Farming online event took place, supported by Farmers Guardian and Morrisons. Search #Farm24 for insight in to the lives and activities of farmers on a typical day.

16 July: The RSA Food Farming & Countryside Commission have released a report linking the broken food system, public health crises & environmental destruction, & recommending a shift to sustainable farming.

11 July: The Guardian released a video on soil health with contributions from the SSA alongside friends and partners from Durham and Sheffield Universities, Groundswell, the Soil Association and CPRE.

9 July: The Queen made headlines whilst visiting our friends at the National Institute for Agricultural Botany in Cambridge, when she insisted she was still capable of planting a tree unassisted.

5 July: The Sustainable Food Trust & NFU co-hosted a conference on Farming, Climate Change & reaching net zero emissions. View the first plenary here and explore the SFT site for more event videos, pictures & insight.

30 June: Our friends at Sectormentor for Soils have compiled a Soil Soap Box piece for us on the many benefits of earthworms to soil health.

26 June: The Sustain Alliance (of which SSA are members) published this inspiring & informative piece on the need to support our soils.

18 June: Triodos Bank have called for a radical overhaul of the UK's food & farming sector, with a vision paper outlining the path towards ecologically & socially resilient food & agriculture systems.

For an archive of past soil announcements by date, see our section:  The Week in Soil.