Our soils are a one of the most valuable good, not only for the farmers within the EU but also for all EU citizens. They provide nutrients to arable crops and plants, they influence water availability and quality, and they provide habitat for (soil) biodiversity. Additionally, our soils are directly linked to climate change, as they can be either a sink or net source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Therefore, our soils provide valuable ecosystem services and functions for the agricultural sector and beyond.
The way how soils are managed and farmed affects the ecosystem services and the quantity of GHGs emitted. On the other hand, soils have the potential to store large quantities of soil organic carbon and could thus act as a sink for GHG emissions.
To reduce their emissions, all of the 12 farmers in Sweden, Italy, and Germany optimized their tillage management practices. They either reduced the frequency of tillage, the depth of tillage, or do not till at all. This practice can improve the microbial activity and soil structure in the upper soil layer. Additionally, higher soil carbon contents in the upper soil layer enhance other soil quality parameters, such as the water infiltration rate, aggregate stability, erosion risk, biological activity and nutrient cycling.
How the SOLMACC farmers implement these practices is one of the topics of this newsletter. Furthermore, we would like to present you two publications on the topics of climate change and agriculture:
- An IFOAM EU and FiBL report on organic farming and climate change
- The SOLMACC (student) brochure that explains in detail the practices implemented and their scientific background and how educators can utilize the SOLMACC project results for training purposes.
We also update you on the latest EU policy developments and SOLMACC project activities in the first half of 2017.
Scientific coordinator FiBL