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  • Titill er á ensku Soil Research Concepts that will Underpin European Soil Sustainability. Soil sustainability in Europe as deduced from investigation of the Critical Zone
  • SoilCritZone, an FP6 Specific Support Action, organised a series of four workshops to discuss the future of soil research in Europe. These workshops included participants from
    the European, African, Chinese and US soil communities. In these workshops the community formulated research questions based on four Working Groups: 1) Soil Degradation, 2) Weathering, 3) Biodiversity and Cross-cutting Issues, and 4) Modelling the Life Cycle of Soils. The outcomes of the Working Groups from Workshop 1 (Bristol, UK – October 2007) and Workshop 2 (Sofia, Bulgaria – April 2008) were presented to and discussed with Early Stage Researchers in Workshop 3 (Chania, Crete, Greece – September 2008) and with stakeholders in Workshop 4 (Vienna, Austria – April 2009).
    In the SoilCritZone project, we have set the soil system within the Critical Zone and by doing so have enlarged the research agenda so that the whole life-cycle of soil can be investigated and modelled. The SoilCritZone Project extended its research goals beyond the protection and remediation of soils, by including the question about the rate of soil formation through weathering and further biological processes (including soil biodiversity), as a natural counterbalance to anthropogenic soil degradation. We also framed soil system parameters for modelling the life cycle of soils, thus defining gains and losses of soils on a quantifiable basis. The Working Groups formulated a number of research questions that are necessary in order to be able to model the life cycle of soils. The key outcomes of the SoilCritZone project are that the European research community should develop soil research questions within the framework of the Earth´s Critical Zone and, that soil observatories should be set up where measured parameters allow the modelling of the life cycle of soils. This report suggests criteria, based on geology, geography, climate, hydrology, European soil types and land use, for the selection of European soil observatories. We took into account sites suggested by the workshop participants and the research that has already taken place within the European and the US ( soil community. Our contribution thus sets the scene for a new approach in soil research so that the soils of Europe and the world can be protected for future generations.
    This final report from the SoilCritZone Specific Support Action can be used to underpin the forthcoming EU Soil Framework Directive, which is based on the Thematic Strategy for Soil
    Protection that was adopted by the European Commission in September, 2006.

  • 22.2.2012

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