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Soil Care Network Newsletter
August 2021
by Michiel van de Pavert, in collaboration with Anna Krzywoszynska, Emma Lietz Bilecky,  and Thirze Hermans

Soil Research

  • What should be the future priorities for research in soil science? This important article looks at the knowledge needs from soil science as identified by experts in different sectors in the UK, and notes a disconnect between the scientific community’s priorities and societal ones

  • Linking soils and wine is the basis of terroir, but the connection is little utilised to draw people’s attention to the importance of soils and geology - this paper presents ways of linking geoheritage, geodiversity and wine culture to make geoheritage more accessible to the wider public (DOI: 10.1007/s12371-021-00594-4)

  • Portugal’s soils are degraded and vulnerable, but how did this situation arise? To better understand the role of soils as historical and contemporary actors in Portugal, this excellent paper charts the history of its soils in relation to the struggle between organic and chemical fertilisation, and complex local and national geographies of agricultural extensification  (DOI: 10.1017/ssh.2021.28)


  • Historically Ukraine was the bread-basket of Europe, however its soils are facing degradation too. This paper charts a set of recommendations for shifting Ukraine’s land use towards soil sustainability (DOI: 10.15407/ugz2021.02.003)


  • Do farmers care about soil microbes? This project interviewed farmers in five European countries and found that farmers do not adjust their farming practices out of consideration for soil biota (DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2021.1964260; no direct link available)

Soil inspiration

  • Entrepreneurial people who seek to make a change can follow the example of Renate Griessel, who started a composting company called polyorganics

  • Pastoral Song: A Farmer's Journey is a book written by James Rebanks, who is an English pastoralist and advocate for change. The book is about the struggles farmers face and Rebanks’ efforts to care for the land

Soil policies

  • This article in the Guardian describes the momentum that is currently behind ‘regenerative agriculture’ in the UK including subsidy plans for promoting practices that boost soil health

  • In this article Forbes sketches a future regenerative agriculture through certification

  • The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Sixth Assessment Report. This video by Just Have a Think discusses some of the key messages

  • Here is a great overview of the various experiments the Rodale Institute has run over the last 40 years. They compare common practices of conventional and organic growers, with variations in tillage or no-till and differences in cover crops. 

Soil news


  • Ants use arches to strengthen the tunnels they make in the soil. The video in this article explains how

  • Floods in Germany, Belgium, and France have caused soil erosion and have ruined crops

Soil events

  • December may feel far away, but it will be here before we know it! Dr Vandana Shiva, a scholar and activist, and Prof Rattan Lal, a decorated soil scientist, will be leading an online course ‘Soil not Soil: Regenerating Biodiversity and Living Soil to address Climate Change’ 1-5th December. You can register here

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