Press releases

  1. 14 Feb 2014

    The European Commission's in-house science service today publishes the first ever comprehensive overview of the soils of Latin America and the Caribbean. Through colourful maps and illustrations the atlas explains in a simple and clear manner the diversity of soil across Central and South America and the Caribbean. It highlights the vital importance of a natural non-renewable resource which provides food, fodder and fuel for 580 million people. The atlas shows the delicate relationships between soils and the functions that they provide.

  2. 26 Apr 2013

    The European Commission has today presented the first Soil Atlas of Africa, highlighting a vital natural resource which provides food, fodder, fuel wood, reduces flood risk and protects water supplies. With full colour maps and illustrations, the atlas explains in a simple and clear manner the diversity of soil across the African continent and emphasizes the importance of this non-renewable resource. Coordinated by the European Commission's in-house science service, the JRC, an internationally renowned group of soil scientists from Africa and Europe has contributed to this atlas. The aim is to raise awareness at all levels – from politicians to the general public - of the significance of soil to life in Africa.

  3. 23 Sep 2010

    The European Commission's own research body, the Joint Research Centre, publishes today, for the first time, an indicator-based map of potential threats to soil biodiversity, in order to guide decision-makers in protecting this crucial resource. The biodiversity within our soils plays a vital role in agriculture and in the water and carbon cycle. The atlas highlights areas within Europe where soil biodiversity is most at risk of decline relative to the current situation – notably parts of the UK, the Benelux countries and Northern France, although there are areas of high risk also in several other Member States. It provides a comprehensive source of information for researchers, policy makers and teachers. It will be launched at the conference 'Soil, Climate Change and Biodiversity – Where do we stand?' (Brussels, 23 & 24 September 2010).

  4. 4 May 2010

    Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will today at the European Parliament launch a Soil Atlas of the world's northernmost regions, where more than half the carbon present in the Earth's soils is stored. She will simultaneously inaugurate an exhibition on the work of the Commission's Joint Research Centre, which produced the Atlas. It covers regions above the latitude of 50° N, which represent 16% of global land surface. So far, the public perception focuses on the melting of arctic ice as one of the indicators for climate change. However, 1700 billion tons of organic carbon are kept in the soils of the northern permafrost region and their thawing could lead to substantial release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and would further increase global warming. The Soil Atlas of the Northern Circumpolar Region is the first compilation providing all the available information on this carbon pool as well as other important data on northern soils. The Atlas will therefore provide a valuable scientific input to climate change and sustainable development models.

  5. 15 Feb 2009

    The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) will host a symposium on soil biodiversity at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago on 15 February 2009. The session will present an overview of current understanding in the field and attempt to explain the various pressures 'life in our soils' is currently under, with an analysis of recent developments that have enhanced our understanding of this crucial, yet unknown ecosystem. The challenges faced by the research community in its support for the sustainable use of this critical, non-renewable natural resource will also be addressed.

  6. 14 Feb 2009

    Today, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) releases a new report entitled "Addressing soil degradation in EU agriculture: relevant processes, practices and policies".

  7. 16 Feb 2008

    Leading soil scientists today showcased important new techniques for measuring soil degradation and fertility and called for greater global recognition of the critical role soil plays in determining the health of the planet, affecting a range of the Earth’s ‘vital signs’ ranging from food production to flood prevention and management.