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Soil Care Network Newsletter
December 2023
by Nicola Wynn, Jamie Nix, Clement Boyer, Charlotte Chivers, Michiel van de Pavert, and Anna Krzywoszynska

Academic Papers

Free Whitepaper, Practical Biology Management in a Regenerative Farm System. In this white paper, prepared by Acres USA, we discuss how two farmers have found success in building healthy and resilient crops by changing their systems into biology-first approaches. One lives in Nebraska and manages thousands of acres, while the other is a small-scale orchardist in Georgia


This editorial from Steve Gliessman celebrates the 10th anniversary of Agroecology and Sustainable Food System, a seminal academic publication of the Agroecology Movement.  ASFS is committed to “advance scholarship at the cutting edge of transdisciplinary research, and to learn with and from peasants, Indigenous peoples, smallholders, and workers across the food system who are leading the way in transforming food systems worldwide toward justice and sustainability”


A recent paper of the European Joint Programme (EJP) SOIL provides an overview of the “potential of climate-smart sustainable soil management research to the targets of the European Green Deal”. They showed that research needs to be: (i) interdisciplinary, (ii) long-term, (iii) multi-scaled, from plot to landscape, (iv) evaluating trade-offs of selected management options for ecosystem services and (v) co-constructed with key stakeholders 

A review study examines how ethnopedology has developed over the last 23 years and considers its role in soil security and knowledge co-production. Considering the marginalization of ethnopedology in university curricula and decision making, they argue that integrating Ethnopedology with connectivity studies and the co-production of knowledge can contribute to Soil Security studies and soil sustainability

Promise of private finance is blocking peatland restoration. A correspondence in Nature follows recent investigations in Scotland’s Western Isles indicating that “uncertainties associated with private finance — who benefits and who is responsible for long-term ecosystem maintenance — are major obstacles to collective decision-making and commitment to restoration”

In the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology a paper sheds light on the processes of decomposition rather than preserved fragments of what people left behind. They show that what we characterise as archaeological sites do not appear to be “wastelands”, and that we could learn from wastelands of the past to change attitudes today – we need to embrace waste, trash and rubbish as the soil of the future

In this invited perspective in Pedosphere, Mary Beth Kirkham calls for “more studies of soils and plants grown under microgravity, so we shall know how to grow plants when mankind establishes permanent stations on the Moon and Mars”

Soil & Policy

Last FAO’s State of Food and Agriculture 2023 addresses “the true cost of food to transform agri-food systems” illustrating how states and businesses can make use of true cost accounting to improve soils preservation. 


European Parliament issued a report on the commission's proposition for a Soil Monitoring Law. A questionnaire for assessment is circulating to assess the forthcoming monitoring framework


A new report from the European Commission on Food2030 is available, this document will guide future research and innovation policy, and has a good focus on soil research


European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) published a first draft overview of the 1178 data points in European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). Around 50.000 Europe-based firms in scope of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will gradually (from 2024 or 2025) have to prepare and publish a sustainability statement following the standard. On the 119 data points of ESRS E4 on  “Biodiversity and ecosystems”, a dozen directly address land use and management including : land-use change ; conversion over time of land cover ;  soil sealing;  sustainable land or agriculture practices or policies ; land-use based on Life Cycle Assessment ; changes in spatial configuration of landscape…



Soil Art, Entertainment, and Outreach

Do we need more soil art? The Ecological Mind: ecology, research, creativity by Matthew Rilings


Plant People, An Anthology of Environmental Artists Vol. 3 is now live! Plant People is a collection of love letters to different plant species. Each different author discusses their relationship with their world, plants, and more. Featuring more than 30+ authors, poets, writers, and artists from around the world

Plants and Poetry Writing Guide. With writing prompts, poetry prompts, and storytelling prompts inspired by plants, animals, trees, and soil, this journal is perfect for nature lovers and writers who want to tap into the beauty and inspiration of the natural world



Soil Events

The first European Soil Week was held in Madrid in November, organised by the European Comission’s Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, with talks by researchers, policy makers, and farmers. You can access all the presentations and materials here

Forthcoming Centennial of IUSS in Florence, Italy 19-21 May 2024. Abstract submissions are open until 15 January 2024 for the 17 submitted sessions in the “Soil and Humanity” track

On the 29th, Gustave Eiffeil University launched the Land Transition research Chair in Paris. Based in École d'architecture de la ville & des territoires Paris-Est and Ecole des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris, the chair research will adress interdisciplinarity in sustainable soil management, soil governance, and in both quantitative land and qualitative living soil preservation

Free Webinar, DNA Soil Testing: Retailers Addressing Grower Questions on Biostimulant Products. In this session, soil health specialist Meri Lillia Mullins, shares her insights and expertise on harnessing DNA soil testing tools to provide actionable solutions to grower queries


Free Webinar, COP28: Amplifying Soil Health in the Climate Conversation on  December 12, 2023, at 10 AM (EST). This virtual event features a lineup of speakers, including Dr. Alberto Acedo, Dr. Jacob Parnell from the FAO, Dr. Linsey Haram, USDA, AIM for Climate

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