ECN e.V.

Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
19 may 2022
EEA Briefing 05/2022

Carbon stocks and sequestration in terrestrial and marine ecosystems: a lever for nature restoration?

Climate change mitigation and nature restoration are two sides of the same coin when it comes to achieving two main objectives of the European Green Deal; climate neutrality and increasing the EU’s natural capital. Well-functioning habitats can take up and store large amounts of carbon, reducing atmospheric CO2 levels and greenhouse gas emissions from land use practices.
To use nature’s full potential, we need to know the carbon storage and sequestration potential of European habitats in their present condition and how much carbon can be used to meet EU emissions policy targets; and the measures available to increase carbon storage in habitats, and the synergies and trade-offs between these measures and ecosystem function. This briefing addresses these questions.

Carbon stocks in EU terrestrial habitats
Terrestrial habitats take up and store atmospheric carbon, partly mitigating the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Followed by forests wetlands store the largest amount of carbon per unit area, although this varies widely. Forests provide large carbon stocks owing to the high carbon content of the above and below ground biomass.
In contrast to wetlands and forests, the carbon storage of agricultural land can be improved using management practices to increase the organic carbon content of soil. However, for heathlands, shrub and semi-natural grasslands, measures to increase carbon storage would reduce their high value for biodiversity, leading to further losses of species richness and abundance. Carbon storage in sparsely vegetated land is highly variable, as it comprises a wide variety of different habitats. Tundra covers only small areas of the EU-27 territory.
Peat soils in terrestrial wetland habitats are important carbon pools. If drained, they may be used for agriculture and forestry. If not drained, habitats on peat soils and salt marshes usually have high carbon storage potential, as organic matter is constantly accumulating because of the wet conditions. Their long-term carbon storage capacity is partly because wetlands rarely burn compared with drier habitats. However, if they are drained, these habitats turn into sources of greenhouse gases, as aerobic conditions lead to the decomposition of the organic substances in the soil.
Bulletin 6

Figure: Soil organic carbon stocks in Europe (t ha−1= Mg ha-1, soil layer 0-100 cm, Kristensen et al. 2019) published in EEA briefing 05/2022. Source: EEA 2022.

Carbon sequestration rates in EU terrestrial habitats
Among terrestrial ecosystems and their habitats, forests have the highest carbon sequestration rates, reaching up to three times that of wetlands and agroecosystems. Over the same period, forests take up more carbon above and below ground than other ecosystems, but sequestration by individual forest habitats in each biogeographical region and across Europe is highly variable (read scoping analysis). Wetlands have relatively low carbon sequestration rates but can accumulate carbon over decades; this explains their very large storage capacity, which on average exceeds all other habitats. Although agroecosystems have relatively high sequestration rates, the biomass is mostly harvested, so these habitats make only minor contributions to carbon storage.
Terrestrial habitats are generally a sink for atmospheric carbon. Natural disturbances such as storms, forest fires or droughts release large amounts of the stored carbon into the atmosphere and turn habitats into a temporary source of greenhouse gases. Anthropogenic disturbances, such as harvesting trees from forests, increase the mineralisation of soil organic carbon and reduce the carbon stored in the soil.
Agricultural management practices constantly keep the soil carbon contents of arable land at low levels. Furthermore, on drained peat soils in which the rates of peat decomposition exceed the carbon sequestration rate, the habitat becomes a net source of greenhouse gases.

Further information and download of the EEA Briefing 05/2022 here.


EU Green Week I 30 May – 5 June 2022

Sustainable Transformation towards a resource-efficient and climate-neutral Europe by 2050

EU Green Week will take place from 30 May to 5 June 2022. The main hybrid event on 31 May puts three important aspects of the transformation in the spotlight – circular economy, zero pollution, and biodiversity. Throughout the week, partner events will be taking place across Europe and beyond.
The programme of the EU Green Week 2022 can be accessed here.
European Soil Observatory I 20-22 June 2022

Workshop on “Soil erosion for Europe – Emerging challenges”

The European Soil Observatory Working Group on Soil Erosion organises a 3-days workshop “Workshop on soil erosion for Europe – Emerging challenges”, on 20-22 June 2022.
One session will focus on Soil organic carbon and erosion integration. The event will be online.
ECN-EP Intergroup Event I 30 June in Brussels

ECN is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a Policy Event on Healthy Soils for Healthy Life

The ECN with celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2022 with a birthday party on June 29th following up with the Annual meeting on June 30th.
The Annunal meeting will be organised in conjunction with the policy event 'Compost and Digestate in the Circular Bioeconomy: Healthy Soil for Healthy Life' hosted by MEP Sarah Wiener, organised by the EP Intergroup on "Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development"and ECN. This event will be organised as an online event. Members who will join the Annual meeting in the morning can follow the pollicy event together online in the Annual meeting room.
Click here to register for the event.
Event Poster
Global Soil Partnership I 26-29 July 2022 I 12:00-15:00 CEST I Virtual

Soils for Nutrition Symposium: Registration open

The Global Symposium on Soils for Nutrition - “Soils, where food begins,” will be held in a virtual format from 26 to 29 July 2022.
The Symposium will bring science and policy together to review the status and challenges of soil fertility in relation with crop, animal and human nutrition. Humans, like microorganisms, plants, and animals, need sufficient food to survive. But food must be safe and nutritious not only to provide energy and basic nutrients, but also to prevent disease and the intake of harmful toxic substances. About 95 percent of our food nutrients come from soils, which have a natural capacity to support plants by providing them with nutrients through the soil solution.

The main objectives of the Symposium are to review the state of the art on the role of soil fertility in delivering sufficient, high quality, safe, and more nutritious food for better nourished people, animals and plants. The Symposium is expected to identify critical knowledge gaps and provide the basis for discussion among policymakers, food producers, scientists, the fertilizer industry, practitioners, and other stakeholders on the creation of solutions that can provide more nutritious agri-food systems for enhanced human health and wellbeing while protecting the environment. 
Registration here:
Austrian Compost Congess I 3-4 November 2022

1st Austrian Compost Congress - Register now

The Compost & Biogas Association Austria is organizing its first Austrian Compost Congress. Our industry is currently facing challenging times and with this top‐class specialist congress we want
to offer composting plant operators the opportunity to stay up to date on important special topics.
In addition, the leading technology providers will be there in order to network with the specialist
industry in the best possible way at this congress.
Current challenges and central topics will be:
  • Law/Quality Assurance
  • State of the art
  • Microplastics/status of biodegradable materials
  • Technology for removing impurities
  • Biowaste fermentation and composting technology
Click here for more information.

S.O.S Save Organics in Soil

This international initiative S.O.S. SOIL – Save Organics in Soil, led by the European Compost Network (ECN) and the Italian Composting and Biogas Association (CIC), aims to highlight the importance of soil organic matter to encourage policy makers to develop instruments to move Europe towards implementing sustainable, climate proof soil management practices.
Sign the manifesto 'Save Organigs in Soil' here.

European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Im Dohlenbruch 11, D-44795 Bochum
T: +49 (0) 234 438 9447
VR4604 - UST-ID-Nr. DE813811932 -
EU Transparency Register: 26513411360-51



ECN-QAS Trade Mark No 011007168
Trade mark for certified quality assurance
organisations, compost and digestate products

facebook twitter linkedin 
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet