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International Year of Soils 2015

In the spotlight 


Let’s Gain Ground!’ - Policies, actions and measures for sustainable land use – 6 May

The scientific conference ‘Let’s Gain Ground!’ is organised as part of the International Year of Soils by Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) and Salviamo il Paesaggio. In Milan, Italy, it brings together scientific, institutional, professional and social communities. Key discussion points are land monitoring, the impact of land consumption, drivers of land-use change and strategies to prevent the loss of land in Italy. Read more…


Soil is Life!  - 6, 17 and 18 May, 16 July

‘Soil is life’ is the title of the series of lectures that Rothamsted Research organises at Harpenden, England, in the context of the International Year of Soils 2015. Rothamsted Research develops knowledge and new practices for environmentally sustainable food production. The month of May features debates on soil fertility and soil degradation, a display of research activities and school visits. Read More…



S.O.S. – Save Our Soils – 20 May

The conference ‘S.O.S. – Save Our Soils’ is being organised in the framework of the International Year of Soils 2015 by Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA). The conference in Malmö, Sweden, will deal with food security, climate change and ecosystem functions. Scientists and practitioners will discuss topics such as agricultural practices, soil microbiology and carbon storage in further detail. Read more …


Photo: Georgina Smith/CIAT via Flickr CC BY 2.0


‘Les sols en question’ - 21 May, 11 June

In the framework of the International Year of Soils, LaSalle - Institute Polytechnique organises a series of conferences under the title ‘Les sols en questions’ (‘questions about soils’). The series, held in Beauvais, France, deals with soil conservation and restauration through agro-ecology and ecological engineering. Read more…




Land Quality and Landscape Processes - 2-4 June

Comprehensive information on land quality is essential for the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals that are related to soils. The conference ‘Land Quality and Landscape Processes’ in Keszthely, Hungary, organised by multiple leading organisations in the field of soil science, will address this lack of information. Read more…


International Conference and Annual Meeting of the European Land and Soil Alliance (ELSA) – 11 and 12 June

Moors have gained increased attention because of their capacity to store carbon. Cities, towns and regions gathered in the European Land and Soil Alliance (ELSA) will discuss how they can contribute to climate and moor protection through science, financing and best practices. Read more…



Celebrating Soil! Celebrating Life! – 26 and 27 June

International business leaders, political leaders and spiritual leaders will speak at the conference ‘Celebrating Soil! Celebrating Life!’ in Amsterdam, organised by Nature & More, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and IFOAM Organics International. Besides celebrating the soil as a foundation for life, the event will deliver a Soil Declaration and Action Plan. Read more…



Soil Saturdays - 4, 11, 18 and 25 July

Starting in July, Soil Saturdays are a series of events that offer visitors the opportunity to explore soils and to learn how one can protect soils in their everyday life. The series offers hands-on workshops, presentations, discussions and visits. Held in Bristol, United Kingdom, Soil Saturdays are part of the city’s activities as the European Green Capital 2015. July’s activities feature micro-organism explorations, composting workshops, film screenings and a visit to a community farm. Read more…

Soil Biodiversity: How to Explore and Utilise Life in Soils? - 16 July

Microorganisms and animals that live in the ground contribute significantly to shaping the structure of soils and the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Field experiments of Rothamsted Research, some of which have been running for over a hundred years, show how different treatments of soil affect these. The meeting will deal with new insights into soil microbiology and will discuss how findings can be used to benefit humanity and the environment. Read more…


Soil Matters - Ask the Experts at Royal Welsh Show 2015 - 22 July

The panel discussion ‘Soil Matters - Ask the Experts’ at the Royal Welsh Show 2015 provides a platform to address any soil-related questions to a panel of soil scientists. The panel, which includes experts from Aberystwyth University, Bangor University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), will meet with farmers, smallholders, gardeners and horticulturists to discuss how they can benefit from soil research. Read more…


© Shutterstock / Matej Kastelic


Wageningen Soil Conference: Soil Science in a Changing World – 23-27 August

The Wageningen Soil Conference stresses the importance of soil science and its role in dealing with major challenges like food security, climate change, land-use, the loss of biodiversity and safeguarding water resources. The event, which is expected to attract over 250 soil scientists from 28 countries, will also address policy and effective governance. Read more…


Soil-borne greenhouse gases: From field data to publication - 30 August-5 September

This summer school, organised by four prominent organisations in the field of soil science, will focus on the measurement and modelling of greenhouse gas exchanges between soil, plants and the atmosphere, needed to provide accurate information on the soil’s release or retention of greenhouse gases. The course deals with challenges such as data quality, analysis and upscaling. Read more…


29. Congress of the Polish Society of Soil Science - Soil Resources and Sustainable Development – 31 August-5 September

The conference ‘Soil Resources and Sustainable Development’ deals with a wide range of soil-related issues. It will discuss soil genesis and classification, chemical, biological and physical processes and the effects of the transformation of soil organic matter. The event will also address soil degradation, reclamation and protection and the rational use of soil resources. Read more…



International Field Course and Soil Judging Contest - 1-5 September

The International Field Course and Soil Judging Contest in Gödöllő, Hungary, is a celebration of the International Year of Soils and an opportunity for researchers to test their knowledge of soils. After a four-day course on classification standards, field procedures and techniques, participants will compete in the on-site contest, using basic field tools and selected standards. Winners will be selected based on their ability to describe soils correctly, as well as their knowledge of the functions and performance of these soils under different land-use and management practices. The event site, situated in the Danube basin, offers a diverse range of soils, with for example different parent materials and moisture regimes.


Read more…


17. pedologické dny 2015 - Česká a slovenská pedologie v Mezinárodním roce půdy – 9-11 September (17th Pedological Days 2015 - Czech and Slovak soil science in the International Year of the Soils)


The 17th Pedological Days, held in Deštné, Czech Republic, in the Orlické mountains, are not dedicated to soil scientists alone. Besides discussing new findings of Czech and Slovak soil science, the event aims especially at informing the general public about the need for soil protection. The event is held under the auspices of the Czech Ministry of Environment. It will be opened by the Czech Minister of Agriculture Marian Jurečka.


Read more…


SUSTAIN - International Congress on Soil Functions and Climate Change – 23-26 September

On the occasion of the International Year of Soils 2015, the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany, invites for a dialogue on how changing environments will affect soils and soil properties in the future. To give a more reliable prediction of for example climate induced changes, it is essential to learn more about the dependency of crucial soil functions on thermal, hydraulic, chemical and biological processes. The congress is supported by the International Union of Soil Sciences, IUSS.



Picture: Shutterstock / sarkao

Read more…


IMPEL Conference – ‘Many Soil Functions, Many Reasons to Protect It’ - 7-8 October

The European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) brings together the environmental authorities of the EU Member States and other countries. IMPEL’s conference ‘Many Soil Functions, Many Reasons to Protect It’, held at the EXPO 2015 in Milan, offers the opportunity to share experiences in soil protection and the implementation of best practices. The conference will focus on the role of environmental authorities and regulators, following the thematic areas industry and soil, agriculture and nature protection and natural risks. Read more…


Picture: Shutterstock / igor.stevanovic


The Thin Skin of Earth – Our Soils - as of 13 October

The travelling exhibition ‘The Thin Skin of Earth – Our Soils’ of the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History will move to the European Parliament in Brussels. The exhibition will be opened on 13 October during a short symposium with contributions of representatives of the European Parliament and the European Commission. The Senckenberg Museum, located in Görlitz, Germany, investigates soil biodiversity, soil functions and nutrient cycles.
Through 3D-models, microscope pictures, hands-on exhibits, movies and multimedia units, the exhibition makes visitors familiar with organisms in the ground, threats to soils and solutions for preservation. Read More…



ENSA/JRC - 4th Meeting of ENSA – Giving soils a voice - 21-22 October

The European Network on Soil Awareness (ENSA) aims at raising awareness about soil protection by bringing together soil scientists, experts and other interest groups. The 4th meeting of the network, held at the EXPO 2015 in Milan under the auspice of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, offers the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences in raising awareness. Representatives of the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) will share their views. A panel will discuss the outcomes of the International Year of Soils. Read more…


Picture: Shutterstock / Martin Haas


Gesunder Boden - Gesunder Gartenbau - Kongress zum Jahr des Bodens (Healthy soils, healthy horticulture - Congress in context of the International Year of Soils 2015) - 16 November

This event of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Zentralverband Gartenbaun held in Berlin, focuses on the necessity of healthy soils for food production. It touches upon good practices in horticulture and the challenges of environmental protection and soil management in this sector. Illustrated by regional examples, it will also address practical issues such as soil exhaustion in fruit and vegetables production and the cultivation of crops in urban areas. Read more…


Shutterstock / Lighthunter


Why Soil matters? A European perspective - 18 November

This event of the Greens /EFA group in the European Parliament addresses the role of the European Union in assuring healthy living soils as a basis of food systems. The session will also look forward to COP21 climate summit and the role of soils as a means to mitigate climate change. The session will also discuss awareness raising opportunities, highlighting the projects Soil Culture (held this summer in Bristol) and People4Soil.

The keynote speech will be given by Vandana Shiva (photo), author of the books 'Soil not Oil 'and 'The Living Soil'. The session will be closed with remarks from representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Read more…


EFA Greens


Celebrating a New Era for British Soil Science - 2015 Annual Meeting -  26 November

The 2015 Annual Meeting of the British Soil Science Society, held in London, focuses on the promising future of soil science in the United Kingdom. Recently, several new programmes, technologies and collaborations were launched: a new centre for doctoral training (Lancaster University), the Soil Security programme (NERC) and the SARISA programme (BBRSC). On top, the British Soil Science Society was recently awarded the organisation of the 2022 World Congress of Soil Science in Glasgow. Read more…
British Society of Soil Science



Day of agriculture at COP21 / Launch of the 4p1000 initiative - 1 December

Soil’s ability to capture and store CO2 puts agriculture and forestry at the forefront of climate mitigation. The 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), taking place in Paris next month, will highlight this potential during COP21’s Day of Agriculture on 1 December. Moreover, The French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry will launch the 4 pour 1000 initiative on carbon sequestration in soil through farming methods such as  agroecology, agroforestry, conservation agriculture and landscape management. Read more…



European Commission - Healthy soil for healthy life – 4 December


The European Commission and the Belgian authorities of the regions Brussels Capital, Flanders and Wallonia organise the conference 'Healthy soil for healthy life’ on 4 December 2015 to conclude the International Year of Soils.The event will be hosted by Brussels Environment in its new auditorium located in the site of “Tour et Taxis” in Brussels (Belgium). It will bring together policy makers, soil experts, NGOs and associations.

M. Daniel Calleja Crespo the DG Environment’s Director-General will open the conference with the Brussels and Walloon Ministers of the Environment and a representative from the office of the Flemish Minister. The international and EU context will be presented by UNCCD (UN Convention to Combat Desertification) and the European Commission, elaborating on the state of play of international policy developments and EU soil policy. The event will also elaborate on the Belgian soil policy context and activities during the IYS, with a presentation of the soil policies in the regions. Other examples of soil conservation will come from the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and Germany.

The event is associated with the World Soil Day Celebration of the FAO, Rome. Read more…


World Soil Day celebration & closure of the International Year of Soils 2015: ‘Soils: a solid ground for life’ - 4 December

The event ‘Soils: a solid ground for life’ of The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) both celebrates World Soil Day 2015 and closes the International Year of Soils.

World Soil Day and the International Year of Soils have been designated by the United Nations General Assembly as platforms to raise awareness at the international, regional and national level about the fundamental role of soils for human life.

This event will discuss the outcomes of the year, different stakeholders will give testimonials and the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) will launch the Status of the World’s Soil Resources Report. Read more…

faoiyssoil day


Celebration of International Year of Soils 2015 - Achievements and Future Challenges - 7 December

At the close of the International Year of Soil, the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) takes stock of the achievements of this thematic year with a meeting co-organised with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In Vienna, soil science societies from across the world, including of Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, South-East Asia and Australia will present their achievements. As much as it looks back on the International Year of Soils, it will elaborate on future challenges during workshops and presentations. Read more…

Picture: CreativeNature R.Zwerver