Do we mean by soil health?

Soil health refers to the ability of the soil to provide the nutrients and other resources necessary for plant growth and the life of the organisms that live in it. 

This includes their ability to retain water, regulate temperature, control erosion and provide a suitable environment for microbial life.

Soil health also plays an important role in biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. However, human activity, such as intensive agriculture, urbanisation and deforestation, can severely damage soil health, which can have serious consequences for food production, the environment and human health. It is therefore important to take action to protect and restore soil health to ensure a sustainable future.

Soil health refers to the ability of the soil to provide the nutrients and other resources necessary for plant growth and the life of the organisms that live in it.
Soil health refers to the ability of the soil to provide the nutrients and other resources necessary for plant growth and the life of the organisms that live in it. Photo: Egor Kamelev. Link

Are Europe’s soils healthy?

Soil health in Europe varies widely between regions and countries. In general, most European soils are considered to be in good condition, but there are also areas that have been affected by soil degradation due to human activity.

In some regions of Europe, such as northern Spain, northern Italy and eastern Europe, intensive agriculture and urbanisation have caused significant soil degradation. Compacted soil, erosion and nutrient loss are common problems in these areas.

In other regions, such as northern and western Europe, soils are in better condition due to more sustainable agriculture and better soil management. However, there are still problems, such as soil contamination due to industry and agriculture, as well as loss of soil biodiversity due to urbanisation and habitat degradation.

Soil health in Europe is generally considered to be deteriorating due to human activity. However, there are policies and programmes in place to improve soil management and restore soil health in Europe.

Some highlights of soil health in Europe include:

  • According to the 2019 European Environment Agency (EEA) report, around 15% of European soils are severely degraded due to erosion, compaction, nutrient loss and pollution.
  • According to the EEA report, soil erosion is a particularly serious problem in Europe, with around 17% of soils exposed to critical levels of erosion.
  • The EEA report also points out that agriculture is the main cause of soil degradation in Europe, followed by urbanisation and deforestation.
  • The EEA report also notes that soil biodiversity loss is a growing problem in Europe, with around 50% of soil species threatened or endangered.
  • According to the EEA report, some countries in Europe, such as Denmark, Sweden and the UK, have good soil health thanks to sustainable soil management and conservation agriculture.

It is important to note that these data may vary depending on the source and methodology used, and may be different in different regions or countries in Europe.

One of the main objectives of the NOVASOIL project is to learn the most effective mechanisms and actions to improve soil health. Through research and studies, it will seek to develop sustainable strategies to preserve and improve soil health in order to ensure its productivity and conserve its ecological value.

We offer you the possibility to participate in this project as an interested actor. Just sign up for our newsletter.

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