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13 August 2021

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Sixth Assessment Report addressing the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, concluding that the strength of scientific certainty about climate change means that action on reducing emissions must be accelerated. Sustain and the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission have both published pieces on what the IPCC report could mean for food and farming, both mentioning the value of soil-friendly farming.

On Tuesday, Defra launched a consultation on Local Nature Recovery Strategies, a new England-wide system of spatial strategies that will establish priorities and map proposals for specific actions to drive nature’s recovery. The consultation aims to gather views on key questions that will help the Government produce regulations and guidance once the Environment Bill becomes law.

Oxfam has published a new report ‘Tightening the Net’, analysing the implications of net zero climate targets for land and food equity. The report calls for a “food first approach” to land-based climate action, which would enable synergies to help achieve both zero emissions and zero hunger. This would include improving cropland and pastureland management to increase carbon storage in soils.

New research identifies the barriers to routine soil testing within UK beef and sheep farming systems as fewer beef and sheep farmers adopt soil index tests than farmers from other sectors. The research highlights that engagement with advisors results in higher use of soil test data and that linking soil condition to farm outputs is likely to prompt greater engagement.

An article in the Guardian explores how a regenerative farming shift could reduce UK climate emissions. The article interviews John Cherry, founder of Groundswell, and discusses how farming methods that use fewer pesticides and store more carbon in soil, are becoming increasingly popular across the supply chain.

A trial project in Australia seeks to transform cotton into a soil ameliorant, creating a circular solution by improving land health by reducing waste and CO2 emissions. Researchers hope that the breaking down of textile waste will result in more microbial activity, increased soil humidity and higher carbon sequestration.

Another article in the Guardian looks at how ‘no-plough’ regenerative methods adopted in small vineyards and olive farms in Spain are boosting biodiversity and profits. The return of more traditional ways of farming, motivated by both environmental and economic concerns and partly funded by the EU’s Life programme, is allowing soils to be brought back to life.


Our Week in Soil blog won’t be out next week as we will be taking a summer break but will be back on 27th August!


Photo by Haris.