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05 November 2021

As the first week of COP26 in Glasgow draws to an end, many have voiced their disappointment in the lack of attention placed on land and farming. The Food and Farming Countryside Commission has compiled a short film Land Unlockedto showcase the growing citizen movement around fixing the ways we use our land and highlight how land is the silent partner in the climate debate.

In terms of COP26 events relating to soils, the Peatland Pavilion is providing a platform to exchange knowledge and experience of successful action on peatland; you can find its full programme here. On Wednesday, an event hosted in the WWF Pavillion explored the role of Soil Health for Climate Change Mitigation, Resilience and Good Food Systems’.

The British Society of Soil Sciences (BSSS) has published a science note on soil carbon in time for COP26, outlining how soils play a vital role in carbon storage and sequestration. BSSS president Dr Bruce Lascelles has also written a blog highlighting the Society’s asks at COP26 to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of soils worldwide.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced the launch of a new Soil Nutrient Health Scheme for Northern Ireland. This is a soil sampling and carbon analysis scheme aimed at putting an increasing emphasis on improved soil nutrient health and farm carbon.

The IUCN UK Peatland Programme published its ‘Demonstrating Success’ booklet series showcasing successful peatland restoration projects from across the UK and internationally. The case studies illustrate opportunities for restoration and sustainable management, as well as innovative ways of engaging people in conservation action.

An article in Farmers Weekly explores how a Cornish arable farm aims to be Net Zero in five years. To do so, farmer Tim Williams has started his regenerative farming journey and is aiming to recover soils after intensive cropping and cultivation through a number of practices to rebuild his soil’s biology, organic matter and structure. This is part of the National Lottery-funded Farm Net Zero project.

A new research paper provides a methodical framework to analyse terrestrial carbon stocks (soil and tree biomass) for credible carbon off-setting strategies in institutional land. The approach was demonstrated at two farms managed by Newcastle University and hopes to enable institutions with large land holdings to rationally consider their estates in future soil carbon management schemes.