During the 11th European IFSA Symposium Dr. Ana Frelih-Larsen, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, outlined the existing mechanisms for soil protection in general and soil organic matter (soil carbon) specifically. She explained the requirements for better policies to protect soil organic matters. Sandra Naumann chaired the session. The presentation slides are available for download.
Various efforts are underway in different Member States which contribute to the protection of soil organic matter, however action remains fragmented and no systematic overview of effectiveness of different policies is available. Continued losses of soil organic matter remain a serious issue in the EU and require more targeted support within the policy environment. Improving policies requires overcoming a number of challenges, including:
- the lack of a horizontal mechanism for soil protection and systematic monitoring of risk areas,
- difficulty of demonstrating and conveying the importance of soil organic matter,
- lower awareness of soil carbon benefits for agricultural productivity and resource efficiency,
- difficulties of translating scientific knowledge on soil carbon into clear policy messages, and
- lower political urgency at regional and local levels.
The 11th European IFSA Symposium was held from 1 until 4 April 2014 in Berlin, Germany, focusing on the theme Farming systems facing global challenges: Capacities and strategies. Ecologic Institute co-hosted a session titled "Soil management: facilitating on-farm mitigation and adaptation" in collaboration with the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) as partners within the SmartSOIL consortium, as well as the Catch-C project. During the session, the presentations aimed to identify various successes and barriers to achieving better soil management on farms, in particular farmers' decision-making processes, economic considerations, technical capacity, and available policy instruments. Available presentations from the session are accessible on the SmartSOIL website.