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Academic – Do Agricultural Advisory Services in Europe have the Capacity to Support the Transition to Healthy Soils?
Julie Ingram, Jane Mills, Jasmine E. Black, ...
AuthorsJulie Ingram Jane Mills Jasmine E. Black Charlotte-Anne Chivers José A. Aznar-Sánchez Annemie Elsen Magdalena Frac Belén López-Felices Paula Mayer-Gruner Kamilla Skaalsveen Jannes Stolte Mia Tits
No abstract has been registered
Academic – Impact of no-tillage on water purification and retention functions of soil
Kamilla Skaalsveen, Lucy Clarke
AuthorsKamilla Skaalsveen Lucy Clarke
There are still uncertainties regarding the long-term impact of no-tillage farming practices on separate soil functions in the United Kingdom. This paper aimed to evaluate the chemical and physical processes in two different agricultural soils under no-tillage and conventional management practices to determine their impact on water related soil functions at field scale in the United Kingdom. The field-scale monitoring compares two neighboring farms with similar soil and topographic characteristics—one of the farms implemented no-tillage practices in 2013, while the second farm is under conventional soil management with moldboard plowing. Two soil types were evaluated under each farming practice: (1) a free-draining porous limestone, and (2) a lime-rich loamy soil with high silt and clay content. Field monitoring was undertaken over a two-year period and included nutrient analysis of surface and subsurface soil samples, bulk density, soil moisture, infiltration capacity, surface runoff, and analysis of phosphorus (P) and suspended solids in watercourses in close proximity to the test fields. The conversion to no-tillage changed the soil structure, leading to a higher bulk density and soil organic matter content and thereby increasing the soil moisture levels. These changes impacted the denitrification rates, reducing the soil nitrate (NO3) levels. The increased plant material cover under no-tillage increased the levels of soil phosphate (PO43–) and PO43– leaching. The extent to which soil functions were altered by farming practice was influenced by the soil type, with the free-draining porous limestone providing greater benefits under no-tillage in this study. The importance of including soils of different characteristics, texture, and mineralogy in the assessment and monitoring of farming practice is emphasized, and additionally the between field and in-field spatial variability (both across the field and with depth) highlighted the importance of a robust sampling strategy that encompasses a large enough sample to effectively reveal the impact of the farming practice.
Report – Report on identified regional, national and European aspirations on soil services and soil functions
Miro Jacob, Peter Maenhout, Simone Verzandvoort, ...
AuthorsMiro Jacob Peter Maenhout Simone Verzandvoort Greet Ruysschaert Sigbert Huber Bettina Schwarzl Bruno Huygebaert Martin Hvarregaard Thorsøe Eloïse Mason Anna Jacobs Stella Sonnenburg Axel Don Lilian O’Sullivan David Wall Raimonds Kasparinskis Oļģerts Nikodemus Imants Kukuļs Ivo Vinogradovs Baiba Dirnēna Kristīne Afanasjeva Kristaps Auziņš Žydrė Kadžiulienė Frederik Bøe Jannes Stolte Kamilla Skaalsveen Teresa Gómez de la Bárcena Daniel Rasse Grzegorz Siebielec Fátima Calouro Ana Marta Paz Cristina Sempiterno Maria da Encarnação Marcelo Pedro Jordão Michal Sviček Kristína Buchová Vladimír Hutár Rok Mihelič Sara Mavsar Borut Vrščaj Klara Rekič Helena Grčman Benjamin Sanchez Lena Engström Noemi Peter Olivier Heller Gina Garland Peter Weisskopf Wieke Vervuurt Janjo de Haan Sevinc Madenoglu Hesna Ozcan Dario Fornara Elaine Groom Jill Mellon Suzanne Higgins Rachael Ramsey Alex Higgins Lisa Black
Deliverable 2.5. This report contributes to the EJP SOIL roadmap for climate-smart sustainable agricultural soil management and research by identifying current policy targets and realizations and setting soil service aspirational goals by 2050 at the regional/national (Chapter 2) and European scale (Chapter 3). At both scales, the report is based on a desk study of current agricultural soil related policies, followed by a stakeholder consultation. Twenty countries/regions have contributed to the regional/national analyses and 347 different stakeholders have provided their views on soil policy. The policy analysis demonstrates that large differences exist between the number of policy targets per soil challenge. In general, the soil challenge ‘Maintaining/increasing soil organic carbon’ can be considered as the most important soil challenge taking into account both the policies of the participating countries and of the EU level. This soil challenge not only has (one of) the largest share(s) of quantitative and qualitative targets, but also has a large share of the targets for which an indicator and monitoring is in progress or existing. At the EU level, ‘Avoiding contamination’ is also particularly high addressed in policy documents. In the participating countries, other very important soil challenges in policy are ‘Enhance nutrient retention/use efficiency’, ‘Avoid soil erosion’ and ‘Avoid soil contamination’. These soil challenges comprise a large share of soil- and agricultural soil specific targets. However, despite the large number of policy targets, identified by the participating EJP SOIL countries, there is still a shared need for appropriate clear (quantified) policy targets with a specific time horizon, well-defined indicators and a monitoring systems. Similar results are found at the EU level. Policy targets addressing soil challenges are mostly not expressed in quantitative terms and indicators for monitoring policy targets with references to soil challenges were identified for less than half of the cases. From the stakeholder consultations, it becomes clear that for all soil challenges there is still a way to go before future aspirational goals will be met. Generally, when averaging between all countries, the gap between current policy targets and realizations is for most soil challenges considered between large and halfway in reaching the current policy targets and for most soil challenges current policy targets are regarded almost- to- far from being futureproof. In the prioritization of soil challenges, stakeholders at the regional/country and European level, clearly marked maintaining/increasing SOC as the most relevant soil challenge in the upcoming decades. The stakeholders explain the key role of maintaining/increasing soil organic carbon through the multiple interactions with other soil challenges and for climate change mitigation. At the EU level, the second highest ranked prioritization is soil sealing, due to its irreversible nature. This is, however, not reflected at the country level, potentially due to a misinterpretation of soil sealing as compaction by part of the stakeholders. At the country level, enhancing soil nutrient retention/use efficiency was ranked 2nd in the prioritization exercise. Generally, there is an urgency for policy updates, because the current policy is considered unable to tackle the prominent soil challenges. In the report, also the soil related management practices to achieve the aspirational goals have been identified, both in the policy analysis and in the stakeholder consultation. The most prominent differences between policy and stakeholders, is in the emphasis on the use of buffer strips and small landscape elements in policy, while measures in this category are less highly ranked by the stakeholders. On the other hand, conservation agriculture, agro-ecological farming, precision agriculture, incorporation ........
Report – Set of reports on State of knowledge in agricultural soil management
Sophie Zechmeister-Boltenstern, Arezoo Taghizadeh-toosi, Maria Knadel,, ...
AuthorsSophie Zechmeister-Boltenstern Arezoo Taghizadeh-toosi Maria Knadel, Trine Nørgaard Emmanuel Arthur Johannes Lund Jensen Mansonia Pulido-Moncada Chiara de Notaris Lars J. Munkholm Julia Fohrafellner Julia Miloczki Erich Inselsbacher Martina Kasper Maarten De Boever Peter Maenhout Brieuc Hardy Lenka Pavlů Mansonia Pulido-Moncada Arezoo TaghizadehToosi Mika Tutunen Nils Borchard Eloïse Mason Daria Seitz Axel Don Peter Laszlo Béla Pirkó Eszter Tóth Lilian O’Sullivan David Wall Sergio Pellegrini Raimonds Kasparinskis Žydrė Kadžiulienė Wieke Vervuurt Frederik Bøe Kamilla Skaalsveen Teresa Gómez de la Bárcena Jannes Stolte Grzegorz Siebielec Nádia Castanheira Corina Carranca Maria Gonçalves Michal Sviček Rok Mihelič Sara Mavsar Benjamin Sanchez Diego Intrigliolo Katharina Meurer Olivier Heller Sevinc Madenoglu Dario Fornara Alex Higgins Suzanne Higgins Jill Mellon
EditorsLars J. Munkholm
No abstract has been registered
Report – Stocktaking on soil quality indicators and associated decision support tools, including ICT tools
L. Pavlů, J. Sobocká, L. Borůvka, ...
AuthorsL. Pavlů J. Sobocká L. Borůvka V. Penížek B. Adamczyk A. Baumgarten I. V. Castro S. Cornu M. De Boever A. Don D. Feiziene G. Garland B.S. Gimeno H. Grčman F. Hawotte A. Higgins R. Kasparinskis M. Kasper L. Kukk P. Laszlo S. Madenoğlu K. Meurer P. Schjønning Kamilla Skaalsveen L. O'Sullivan S. Vanino W. Vervuurt R. Wawer
Deliverable 2.2. This synthesis shows recent and current efforts in Europe related to the establishment of soil indicators as parameters used to quantify and valuate impacts of agricultural soil management practices on soil quality. It also shows how the existing indicators have been used. Among the best captured soil parameters across all participating countries are carbon concentration in soils and its changes in time, macronutrients (N, P, K) and micronutrients (Cu, Mn) contents in soils, soil pH, cation exchange capacity and base saturation of soils, soil texture and bulk density, and contamination with potentially toxic elements, especially Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn. However, there is only partial agreement between the measured parameters and the indicators used in the national legislations and as policy maker´s tools.
Academic – The Ecological Integrity of Spring Ecosystems: A Global Review
Lawrence E. Stevens, Anwar A. Aly, Sarah M. Arpin, ...
AuthorsLawrence E. Stevens Anwar A. Aly Sarah M. Arpin Iva Apostolova Gail M. Ashley Paulo Quadri Barba Jose Barqúin Aude Beauger Lachen Benaabidate Sami Ullah Bhat Lhoussaine Bouchaou Marco Cantonati Teresa M. Carroll Russell Death Kathleen A. Dwire Miguel Fernandes Felippe Roderick J. Fensham Alan E. Fryar Roger Pascual i Garsaball Vojsava Gjoni Douglas, S. Glazier Nico Goldscheider Joseph T. Gurrieri Ragnhildur Gudmundsdottir Atzalan Rodriguez Guzman Michal Hájek Kristian Hassel Tamara Heartsill-Scalley Jaume Solé i Herce Dirk Hinterlang Joseph H. Holway Jari Ilmonen Jeffrey Jenness Jutta Kapfer Ioannis Karaouzas Robert L. Knight Agnes-Katharina Kreiling Christian Herrera Lameli Jeri D. Ledbetter Nataly Levine Melinda D. Lyons Robert E. Mace Angeliki Mentzafou Pierre Marle NIls Moosdorf Monica K. Norton Allan Pentecost Guillermo Garcia Pérez Bianca Perla Kamilla Skaalsveen Olivier Voldoire
Springs are ecosystems influenced by the exposure of groundwater at the Earth's surface. Springs are abundant and have played important, highly interactive ecological, cultural, and socio-economic roles in arid, mesic, and subaqueous environments throughout human evolution and history. However, springs also are widely regarded as being highly threatened by human impacts. Cantonati et al. (2020a) recommended increased global awareness of springs, including basic mapping, inventory and assessment of the distribution and ecological integrity of springs. We conducted a preliminary global analysis on the ecological integrity of springs by reviewing information on the distribution, ecohydrogeology, associated species, kinds and intensity of human uses, and level of ecological impairment of spring ecosystems. We reviewed information on an estimated 250,000 spring ecosystems among 78 countries across much of the world. Available literature on spring ecological integrity is sparse, widely scattered, and spatially erratic, with major gaps in knowledge. We report large differences in the quality and extent of information among countries and continents, with only moderate data availability even among developed countries, and limited information across most of the developing world. Among countries with available data, ecological impairment of springs is everywhere rampant, sometimes exceeding 90% in developed regions. Impairment among Holarctic nations is generally negatively related to distance from human development, elevation, and latitude, but such patterns are less evident in Africa, Australia, and South America. Declining trends in ecosystem condition, compounding threat factors, and spring-dependent population declines, extirpation, and extinctions of plants, invertebrates, fish, and herpetofauna are widely reported. Overall, available information indicates a global crisis in spring ecosystem integrity, with levels of ecosystem impairment ranging from Vulnerable to fully Collapsed. The threats to aquifers and the ecological integrity of springs vary spatially. Many springs are impaired by local impacts due to flow diversion, geomorphic alteration, land use practices, recreation impacts, and the introduction of non-native species. These threats can be reduced through education, rehabilitation of geomorphology and habitat quality, and species reintroductions if the supporting aquifer remains relatively intact. However, springs also are widely threatened by regional to global factors, including groundwater extraction and pollution, as well as climate change. Such coarse-scale, pre-emergence impacts negatively affect the sustainability of spring ecosystems and the aquifers that support them. Improving understanding and stewardship of springs will require much additional systematic inventory and assessment, improved information management, and reconsideration of basic conservation concepts (e.g., habitat connectivity), as well as cultural and socio-economic valuation. Substantial societal recognition, discussion, and policy reform are needed within and among nations to better protect and sustainably rehabilitate springs, their supporting aquifers, and the spring-dependent human and biotic populations that depend upon them.
Lecture – Using deliberative multi-criteria techniques with stakeholders to select soil improving cropping systems (SICS) (for the SoilCare project)
Academic – Helping stakeholders select and apply appraisal tools to mitigate soil threats: Researchers’ experiences from across Europe
Uche T. Okpara, Luuk Fleskens, Lindsay C. Stringer, ...
AuthorsUche T. Okpara Luuk Fleskens Lindsay C. Stringer Rudi Hessel Felicitas Bachmann Ioannis Daliakopoulos Kerstin Berglund Francisco Jose Blanco Velazquez Nicola Dal Ferro Jacob Keizer Silvia Kohnová Tatenda Lemann Claire Quinn Gudrun Schwilch Grzegorz Siebielec Kamilla Skaalsveen Mark Tibbett Christos Zoumides
Soil improvement measures need to be ecologically credible, socially acceptable and economically affordable if they are to enter widespread use. However, in real world decision contexts not all measures can sufficiently meet these criteria. As such, developing, selecting and using appropriate tools to support more systematic appraisal of soil improvement measures in different decision-making contexts represents an important challenge. Tools differ in their aims, ranging from those focused on appraising issues of cost-effectiveness, wider ecosystem services impacts and adoption barriers/opportunities, to those seeking to foster participatory engagement and social learning. Despite the growing complexity of the decision-support tool landscape, comprehensive guidance for selecting tools that are best suited to appraise soil improvement measures, as well as those well-adapted to enable participatory deployment, has generally been lacking. We address this gap using the experience and survey data from an EU-funded project (RECARE: Preventing and REmediating degradation of soils in Europe through land CARE). RECARE applied different socio-cultural, biophysical and monetary appraisal tools to assess the costs, benefits and adoption of soil improvement measures across Europe. We focused on these appraisal tools and evaluated their performance against three broad attributes that gauge their differences and suitability for widespread deployment to aid stakeholder decision making in soil management. Data were collected using an online questionnaire administered to RECARE researchers. Although some tools worked better than others across case studies, the information collated was used to provide guiding strategies for choosing appropriate tools, considering resources and data availability, characterisation of uncertainty, and the purpose for which a specific soil improvement measure is being developed or promoted. This paper provides insights to others working in practical soil improvement contexts as to why getting the tools right matters. It demonstrates how use of the right tools can add value to decision-making in ameliorating soil threats, supporting the sustainable management of the services that our soil ecosystems provide.
Academic – The role of farmers' social networks in the implementation of no-till farming practices
Kamilla Skaalsveen, Julie Ingram, Julie Urquhart
AuthorsKamilla Skaalsveen Julie Ingram Julie Urquhart
This paper draws on network science and uses a Social Network Analysis to improve our understanding of how the implementation of no-till in England is influenced by farmers' social networks. No-till is a low disturbance farming practice with potential to benefit soil health, the aquatic environment and farm economy, but is currently only implemented at a small scale in Europe. Interpersonal networks are important for farmers and influence farmer learning and decision-making and farmers often view each other as their main source of information. In this study, the social networks of 16 no-till farmers in England were mapped and semi-structured interviews carried out to assess the link between farmer network characteristics and the implementation of no-till in England. We also aimed to improve our understanding of the nature and extent of knowledge exchanged within farmer networks and their spatial and temporal dynamics. Our findings suggest that intermediary farmers had an important role in increasing the information flow and knowledge exchange between the different clusters of the no-till farmer network. These intermediaries were also the biggest influencers as they were often no-till farmers with a high level of experiential knowledge and viewed as important sources of information by other farmers. No-till farmer networks were geographically distributed as the farmers preferred to discuss farming practices with similar minded no-till farmers rather than local conventional farmers who did not understand what they were trying to achieve. Therefore, online communication platforms like social media were important for communication. We question the role of formal extension services in supporting farmers with innovative practices like no-till and suggest that advisors should strive to improve their understanding of these well-developed information networks to enable a more streamlined and efficient information diffusion.
Academic – The effect of no-till farming on the soil functions of water purification and retention in north-western Europe: A literature review
Kamilla Skaalsveen, Julie Ingram, Lucy Clarke
AuthorsKamilla Skaalsveen Julie Ingram Lucy Clarke
This review provides a comprehensive evaluation of no-till (NT) based on recent studies (post-2000) in NW Europe and evaluates the separate effect of the NT and other associated practices (e.g. cover crops, crop residue and crop rotations) individually and collectively on the water purification and retention functions of the soil. It also assesses the applicability of NT compared to conventional tillage (CT) systems with reference to a number of soil physical characteristics and processes known to have an important influence on water purification and retention functions. The literature search was carried out by a systematic approach where NT practices were assessed against soil structure, erosion, nutrient leaching/loss, water retention, infiltration and hydraulic conductivity (combinations of criteria = 40). Articles were selected based on their relevance in relation to the topic and location within NW Europe (n = 174). Results show that NT has large potential as an erosion mitigation measure in NW Europe with significant reductions of soil losses from agricultural fields, providing potential beneficial effects regarding inputs of sediment and particulate phosphorous (P) to water bodies. However, NT increased losses of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) and had little effect on nitrogen (N) leaching, limiting the overall positive effects on water purification. Soil structural properties were often found to be poorer under NT than CT soils, resulting in decreased water infiltration rates and lower hydraulic conductivity. This was an effect of increased topsoil compaction, reduced porosity and high bulk density under NT, caused by the absence of topsoil inversion that breaks up compacted topsoil pans and enhances porosity under CT. However, several studies showed that soil structure under NT could be improved considerably by introducing cover crops, but root and canopy characteristics of the cover crop are crucial to the achieve the desired effect (e.g. thick rooted cover crops beneficial to soil structural remediation can cause negative effects in soils sensitive to erosion) and should be considered carefully before implementation. The contribution of NT practices to achieve Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives in NW Europe is still uncertain, in particular in regards to water retention and flood mitigation, and more research is required on the total upscaled effects of NT practices on catchment or farm scale.
Academic – The use of Twitter for knowledge exchange on sustainable soil management
Jane Mills, Matthew Reed, Kamilla Skaalsveen, ...
AuthorsJane Mills Matthew Reed Kamilla Skaalsveen Julie Ingram
Encouraging the uptake of sustainable soil management practices often requires on‐farm experiential learning and adaptation over a sustained period, rather than the traditional knowledge transfer processes of identifying a problem and implementing a solution. Farmer‐to‐farmer learning networks are emerging with farmers experimenting and sharing knowledge about these practices amongst themselves. One potential communication channel for such interaction and knowledge sharing is social media and Twitter in particular. A content analysis of a Twitter account for an EU research project, SoilCare, and in‐depth qualitative interviews with five farmers using Twitter were used to illustrate the extent and type of farmer‐to‐farmer knowledge sharing in relation to sustainable soil management practices. Evidence of farmer learning and knowledge sharing on Twitter with respect to these practices was identified. Twitter can capture the immediacy of the field operations and visual impacts in the field. Furthermore, the brief messages channeled through Twitter appeal to time‐constrained farmers. The ability for interaction around a particular hashtags in Twitter is developing virtual networks of practice in relation to sustainable soil management and within these networks farmer champions are emerging that are respected by other farmers. Twitter works best for those actively seeking information, rather than passive recipients of new knowledge. Therefore, its use with other forms of face‐to‐face interaction as part of a blended learning approach is recommended. Twitter also offers a potential space for other actors, such as researchers and advisers, to interact and share knowledge with farmers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Academic – Effect of riparian vegetation on stream bank stability in small agricultural catchments
Dominika Krzeminska, Tjibbe Kerkhof, Kamilla Skaalsveen, ...
AuthorsDominika Krzeminska Tjibbe Kerkhof Kamilla Skaalsveen Jannes Stolte
The hydrological processes associated with vegetation and their effect on slope stability are complex and so difficult to quantify, especially because of their transient effects (e.g. changes throughout the vegetation life cycle). Additionally, there is very limited amount of field based research focusing on investigation of coupled hydrological and mechanical influence of vegetation on stream bank behavior, accounting for both seasonal time scale and different vegetation types, and none dedicated to marine clay soils (typically soil type for Norway). In order to fill this gap we established hydrological and mechanical monitoring of selected test plots within a stream bank, covered with different types of vegetation, typical for Norwegian agricultural areas (grass, shrubs and trees). The soil moisture, groundwater level and stream water level were continuously monitored. Additionally, soil porosity and shear strength were measured regularly. Observed hydrological trends and differences between three plots (grass, tree and shrub) were analysed and formed the input base for stream bank stability modeling. We did not find particular differences between the grass and shrub plot but we did observe a significantly lower soil moisture content, lower soil porosity and higher shear strength within the tree plot. All three plots were stable during the monitoring period, however modeling scenarios made it possible to analyse potential differences in stream bank stability under different vegetation cover depending on root reinforcement and slope angle.