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Soil Care Network Newsletter

July 2018

by Anna Krzywoszyńska


  • This very important article discusses the tensions between soils as private property vs public good from a legal standpoint, and propose a revised understanding of property rights in light of soils’ ecosystem service provision.

  • New toolkit to help improve soil health Resources gathered in GREATsoils project include online guides with practical advice from growers on testing and improving soil health

  • An international research team led by EMBL and the University of Tartu (Estonia) conducted the first global study of bacteria and fungi in soil. Their results show that bacteria and fungi are in constant competition for nutrients and produce an arsenal of antibiotics to gain an advantage over one another. 

  • This new study on the carbon release feedback loop as soils warm up heats up the controversies around the potential of soils to act as carbon sinks.

  • Sixty researchers from eight European countries will be working together with companies and farmers for the next four years as part of the Diverfarming project to develop a viable diversified agricultural model as an environmentally and economically beneficial and sustainable alternative to mainstream intensive monoculture.

  • Listening to soil life – using acoustic methods to understand soil biological activity

  • FAO has released the Global Soil Organic Carbon Map technical report

  • People tell stories, but the soil remembers - archaeologists read the devastating impact of colonisation on Ecuador’s populations in its soils.

  • Don’t move oil contaminated soil – soil can ‘heal itself’ with a little help, and it is better for the environment to do remediation in situ

  • This important study shows that some plastics (PBAT) can truly bio-degrade in soils as they are eaten up by soil microbes.

  • Global Change Biology and Soil have just published scientific articles on Soil Organic Carbon that contribute to understanding the soil system and its interaction with humans and the entire Earth system. The GSOC17 Outcome Document highlights the role of soils and SOC management in meeting the climate change and sustainable development agendas and makes recommendations for the key next steps by developing a number of recommendations for the way forward.

  • Microbes associated with plant roots could be a key to helping plants survive drought.

Soils in the news

  • New York City has started a number of initatives valuing the city’s soils, including the first city-government ran soil exchange; NYC Clean Soil Bank is working to replace expensive imports of soil for community gardens with the city’s native soils; and Carbon Sponge, a project that is exploring New York’s capacity to sequester carbon in soil by putting in test plots around the city.

  • The largest and most precise study yet done on acid emissions from Alberta’s oilsands suggests they could eventually acidify soils in an area almost the size of Germany.


Editorials, blogs and opinion

Policy and social movements

  • Soil ‘completely underestimated’ in EU climate strategy.

  • China has introduced a contamination control standard for agricultural land and development land as part of the national campaign against pollution. According to the standard, agricultural land that exceeds risk intervention values will be either banned from being planted with edible agricultural products or conceded to forestry.

  • FAO released the outcome document of the Be a Solution to Soil Pollution symposium.

  • The Environmental Audit Committee calls on the UK government to establish an independent environmental quality watchdog to monitor soil quality after Brexit.



  •  Webinar: Francisco Arriaga and Donna Brandt of the Soil Health Nexus team discuss the variety of soil health parameters, which factors to consider for each indicator, and which soil health tests are connected to water quality.

  •  Layers Of Soil - The Dr. Binocs Show


  • Preventing and Remediating Degradation of Soils in Europe through Land Care - RECARE Policy Conference, 27 September 2018 in Brussels.

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