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European Joint Programming on Soil

Improving agricultural soil management

According to the United Nations backed Global Land Outlook, fertile soil is being lost worldwide at the rate of 24 billion tons per year. Causes include salination (due to irrigation), too heavy machines on the fields, acidification (due to excessive use of fertilizers), depletion and erosion. Research groups and farmers have developed a number of good soil management practices to deal with some of these challenges but, nevertheless, serious knowledge gaps exist. Various European regions lack accessible online soil maps that can give farmers and policymakers enough information.

European and national funds

To close the knowledge gaps, and to overcome the current fragmentation in soil research, FACCE-JPI had a role in facilitating the process for the proposal for an European Joint Programming (EJP) Cofund on Agricultural Soil Management that was developed by the European Commission (Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development).

EJP Soil is a European network of research institutes in the field of soil science and agricultural soil management and policies. The aim of EJP is to boost research by finding synergies in research, avoid current fragmentation and make a leapfrog in research on good agricultural soil management in three main areas: climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security and ecosystem services delivery by joint programming, training and capacity building, whilst taking into account the need for effective policy solutions, as well as the socio-economic conditions of all stakeholders in the agricultural value chain. At the stage of proposal submission, the consortium consisted of 26 partner institutes from 24 countries.

Soil contribution to climate change adaption

The Call (of a total budget of 40 million euros) was closed on January 2019. In this programme, the researchers explore state of- the art technologies for mapping and soil sampling, and develop ICT tools that can be widely used by national and regional agencies, as well as by companies and farmers. The work supports a number of policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy, climate change related policies and environmental policies.

The focus is on climate adaptation and mitigation, and the ambition is that the activities also lead to less soil erosion and the restauration of soil fertility.

Building a cross-European framework for climate-smart sustainable agricultural soil management systems

24 countries join forces in the European Joint Programme EJP SOIL. The overall objective is to provide sustainable agricultural soil management solutions that contribute to key societal challenges including climate change and future food supply.

Furthermore the objectives of the EJP SOIL are to develop knowledge, tools and an integrated research community to foster climate-smart sustainable agricultural soil management, i.e. agricultural soil management that allows sustainable food production, sustains soil biodiversity, as well as other soil functions that preserves the ecosystem services that the soils deliver.

EJP SOIL comprises 26 partner organisations from 24 countries. Together with the European Commission, the partners have a joint budget (80M€) and forces to create an enabling environment that will enhance the contribution of agricultural soils to key societal challenges, including climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable agricultural production, ecosystem services provision and restoration and prevention of land and soil degradation.

Engaged and enthusiastic representatives from 26 partner organisations gathered in Orléans, France on 26th and 27th of February 2020 for the Kick-off meeting of the EJP SOIL. This research programme has the purpose of targeting climate change mitigation and adoption, sustainable agricultural production, eco-system services and soil degradation. Hence, the overall goal of EJP Soil is to foster climate-smart sustainable agricultural soil management. The programme has a focus of integrating a wide network of existing national stakeholders to build a sustainable European integrated research system and to develop knowledge, improved practices, technology and tools. Initiated with the Kick-off meeting, the EJP SOIL programme is currently rolling out its Year One Roadmap, including an inventory of the research gaps, the knowledge needs, and stocktaking of the current State-of-Art. 

The EJP SOIL programme has a term of 5 years.