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April 29, 2022

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Summary



Europe is ringing the end of recreation in terms of soil management:
A great start for an ambitious, integrated and sustainable strategy!

 


We step on it every day; it is part of our lives, but we still too often forget to take it into account. Soil is essential. It plays an essential role as a substrate for crops, allows the infiltration and filtration of rainwater and stores atmospheric carbon. Soil is home to more than 25% of all biodiversity on the planet and forms the basis of the food that sustain humanity and surface biodiversity. Soil is also the largest reservoir of carbon interacting with the atmosphere. This characteristic, combined with their sponge function to absorb water and reduce the risk of flooding and drought, make soils an essential ally for adapting to the effects of climate change. Its quality or, on the contrary, its degradation can have an impact on our health, our environment, and our economy.

 

The European Commission has understood this well and communicated, on November 17, 2021, its soil 2030 strategy, because 60 to 70% of European soils are degraded and this costs 50 billion € per year. It is the future of Europe itself, which is threatened without sustainable soil protection and management by 2030. This strategy aims to be holistic and integrated and addresses all soils threats: erosion, salinization, acidification, sealing, loss of organic matters, nutriments of biodiversity, desertification, …

The Commission bases its strategy on the need to have 100% healthy soils by 2050. It considers that it is not possible to succeed with other European strategies, those in particular relating to food and biodiversity, nor even to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 without a genuine sustainable soil management policy. In its approach, the Commission introduced the notion of healthy soils and the ecosystem services that we produce from soils. Thus, soils have a major role to play in meeting the major environmental challenges that are:

 

Soils and climate

Soils store more carbon than the atmosphere and all vegetation combined. The implementation of sustainable peatland management practices will significantly reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and achieve soil carbon neutrality by 2035. Similarly, initiatives to capture carbon in the soil, at the image of the 4 per thousand’s project will be studied to increase the level of carbon in the soil.

 

Soils and circular economy

The reuse of organic waste, sewage sludge, etc… will reduce the loss of nutriments in the soil and improve its health. The recycling of soils already sealed will reduce the waterproofing and artificialization of agricultural, forests and natural soils. The safe reuse of excavated soil as well as the establishment of an “excavated soil” passport will be studied.

 

Soils and biodiversity

The role of soil microorganisms is crucial for plant and animal life, but they are still little known because only 1% of species have been studied while 25% of species live in soils. The commission wishes to improve knowledge of soil biodiversity and the impact of unsustainable practices on these microorganisms with a view to mapping, evaluating, protecting and restoring them.

 

The Brussels-Capital region understood this on December 5, 2019 by launching the Good soil Strategy. The latter relies on integrated management of soils by combating all damage such as compaction, waterproofing, erosion or pollution, while promoting the development of living soils. This is an important development.

The Walloon and Flemish Regions are already very active in terms of sustainable soil management and many projects have been launched there, also in line with the Commission’s strategy.

 

On October 5 & 6 in Brussels, Intersoil 2022 will be a unique opportunity to meet the players at the heart of these developments.

 

It is this challenge that this 4th session of Intersoil, carried out in partnership with Bruxelles Environment and SPAQuE, invites you to take up:

 

We are interested in your feedback!

themes

 

▬ 6 major themes ▬


Soil and Climate
Keywords: Climate change / Soil-climate interactions / C02 capture / Mitigation of greenhouse gases by soils / Climate neutrality of soils in 2035 / 4 per 1000 initiative, others,...

② Soils and Circular Economy
Keywords: Valorization / Secondary raw material / Resource management / Exit from waste status / Reuse of soil / excavated soil / Reconstituted soil / Bio-organic waste, others, ...

③ Zero soil artificialization
Keywords: Urban sprawl / Building the city on the city / Brownfield / Urban and architectural developments / Soil permeability / Reasoned and economical management of spaces / Ecosystem services / Remediation of wasteland / urban recycling / urban soils / “Stop concrete”, others,…

④ Soils and Biodiversity
Keywords: Bioindicators / Vegetated spaces / Renaturation / Green infrastructure / Green corridor in cities / Species and habitats encountered in wasteland / Phytomanagement / Agroecology / Urban and landscape planning / Knowledge of species, others,...

⑤ What practices for sustainable soil management?
Keywords: Renaturation / Desimpermeabilisation / Fight against erosion / Fragmentation of landscapes / Green cities / Treatment of polluted soils / Sustainable agronomic treatments / Sustainable agricultural techniques / Organic farming / Agro-ecology / Voluntary guidelines, others,…

Soils and digital management

Keywords: Characterization / Digital mapping / Geostatistics / Remote sensing / Digital terrain models / Metrology / Digital innovations / Data management / Sensor networks / GIS, others,…


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