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02 October 2020

This weekend it was revealed that Environment Agency officers ‘inspect just one farm every 263 years’. This has sparked major concerns, especially in light of British rivers having failed their pollution tests and debates over the ambitions of the Environmental Land Management scheme

On Thursday, soil from our planet made it's way up to Space for the first time in history. Researchers believe that studying soil in this new environment could lead to discoveries that could help scientists and farmers on Earth.

The UN hosted a Biodiversity Summit in New York on Wednesday. World leaders including the UK’s Prime Minister, have pledged to reverse the world’s biodiversity crisis by 2030, aiming to protect 30% of lands and oceans in the next decade. So far, nations across the globe have failed to meet their biodiversity targets.

Kew Gardens have released their annual report: ‘State of the World’s Plants and Fungi’. In it, they assess our current knowledge of the world’s plant and fungi species, the threats that they face and policies to safeguard them. The report reveals that 40% of plant species are at risk of extinction.

McDonald’s have partnered up with McCain to launch a £1 million fund to help British potato growers improve their soil and water sustainability. Funding will be directed at several areas, including improving soil structure by introducing new infiltration tines to planters.

A study carried out by the University of Plymouth shows that new woodlands could reduce the risk of flooding within 15 years. Native broadleaves trees can allow soil to absorb huge quantities of rainfall, rather than running off the surface straight into rivers and causing severe flooding. 

In Staffordshire, ancient woodland has been cleared to build the HS2 rail project, despite concerns raised by the Woodland Trust. Earlier in the week, the Soil Association called for further clarity in regards to tree-planting as the UK plans to replace European agricultural subsidies with an interim scheme, the Sustainable Farming Incentive, which will phase into the new Environmental Land Management scheme.

The Northern Real Farming Conference took place this week and will be on until 10th October. The online events explore innovative and regenerative ways to produce good and affordable food for healthy communities. Events so far have covered a range of topics including practical ways to achieve Net Zero, natural flood management, and permaculture in the context of ELMs.

Variations in microbial community structure have been found to be the reason why urban forests contain lower amounts of soil organic carbon than suburban forest. Therefore, a new scientific study argues that changes in soil organic carbon and soil microorganisms induced by urbanisation may adversely affect soil carbon sequestration in subtropical forests.