This initiative, 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.
At the ISWA World Congress on 8 October 2019, the President of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), Mr Antonis Mavropoulos, and Chair of the European Compost Network (ECN), Ms Kristel Vandenbroek already signed the new S.O.S. Soil Initiative.
Reduce Soil erosion and increase soil organic matter
The urgency for the wider land use sectors to increase efforts to address climate mitigation and adaptation has increased since the signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement, with its ambitious targets. Therefore, the fresh challenge for policy makers is to develop instruments to better balance private and societal interests while swiftly moving towards sustainable, climate-proof land management practices, according to few priorities, such as:
- Protecting the existing carbon stock of carbon rich soils. It is a priority to ensure the protection of remaining carbon rich soils where they occur in Europe, both through preventing the ploughing of those soils already under permanent grassland and minimizing further losses of carbon from cultivated carbon rich soils;
- Maintaining soil organic matter by respecting the biological cycle. Therefore, adding stabilised organic matter from the biological treatment of sustainable biomass (e.g. bio-waste) should be promoted;
- Minimising losses of, and increasing, soil organic matter on all soils;
- Encouraging the use of recycled nutrients and the more efficient management of nutrients on agricultural land. This would not only benefit the climate but also be particularly beneficial to improve water and air quality.