Using Earth observation to improve soil protection: Insights from the ESA Symposium

Using Earth observation to improve soil protection: Insights from the ESA Symposium

The European Space Agency (ESA) recently hosted a landmark symposium at its headquarters in Frascati, Italy, bringing together global experts to highlight the key role of Earth observation (EO) in advancing soil protection and restoration. The 6-7 March event, entitled “Earth Observation for Soil Protection and Restoration”, showcased the collective wisdom of 250 participants, including researchers, scientists and representatives of international organisations. In particular, contributions came from prestigious organisations such as GMV, ISRIC, EEA, JRC, FAO, UC Lovain and ESALQ-USP Brazil, underlining the global resonance and interdisciplinary nature of the symposium.

Using Earth observation to improve soil protection: Insights from the ESA Symposium
Using Earth observation to improve soil protection: Insights from the ESA Symposium

Focus on carbon, business models and policy for the health of the soil

A significant part of the symposium agenda was devoted to exploring three key areas: carbon storage, sustainable business models and policy development. Discussions highlighted the essential role of soil in carbon sequestration and the need for accurate methods to map and monitor soil carbon levels. The symposium also highlighted the creation of sustainable business models that motivate the improvement of soil health and the development of policies that encourage the adoption of sustainable, data-driven land management practices.

Showcasing innovative tools and solutions

A highlight of the symposium was the presentation of innovative tools and solutions for soil protection. One of the highlights was the prototype tool developed by the WORLDSOILS project, which uses data from the JRC’s Copernicus programme to accurately estimate soil carbon content.

NOVASOIL Project’s Participation

Francisco José Blanco-Velázquez, CTO of Evenor-Tech and coordinator of the NOVASOIL project, played a key role in the symposium. Representing NOVASOIL, he co-chaired a session with Timo Breure from EUSO-JRC. The NOVASOIL project aims to create a comprehensive platform for soil health assessment and monitoring, linking different data repositories and facilitating the development of feasibility models for different business scenarios, as well as a data management module for the evaluation of incentives and policies.

Using Earth observation to improve soil protection: Insights from the ESA Symposium

Building a sustainable future for soil management

The symposium was a powerful reminder of the enormous potential of Earth observation techniques to revolutionise soil management and combat climate change. Participants called for increased collaboration between different stakeholders to promote and implement innovative solutions that will safeguard and rejuvenate soil health for future generations.

As we move forward, the insights and innovations shared at this symposium promise to be instrumental in shaping a more sustainable approach to soil management, demonstrating the critical importance of Earth observation in this endeavour.

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