Friday, 14 July 2006 - 1:15 PM

Translating Soil Science into Agricultural and Environmental Policy.

Johannes Bouma, Wageningen University and Research Center, Spoorbaanweg 35, Rhenen, Netherlands

The European Union is about to introduce a Soil Framework Directive after earlier introducing frameworks for water and air. Eight threats are distinguished: erosion, decline in organic matter, contamination,biodiversity loss, compaction, sealing and floods and landslides. Objectives are to establish common principles, prevent threats, preserve soil functions and ensure sustainable use. A soil-landscape systems approach is advocated to emphasize relations between the various threats.General objectives are to be defined at EU level to be specified at national and regional level, thus allowing specific rules and regulations that can be supported by local land users. Adopting a Pressure-State-Response approach to each of the threats allows a systematic consideration of societal and political aspects which is essential to obtain a viable and effective framework.A particular effort is needed to communicate the importance of soils for society as most attention currently is focused on climate change and water quality and quantity. Operational methods to define and determine soil quality parameters is most urgent.

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