Living Soils Symposium and 2nd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference

October has been a particularly “fertile” month for soil. Aside from the EU Estonian Presidency initiatives (which was spoken of in last month’s newsletter), the Symposium in Canada and the Global Conference on Soil Biodiversity in China, also took place.

Living Soils Symposium was organised by Concordia University in Montreal on 13-15 October. This conference was not a debate only for researchers and scientists. It referred to the international framework of current international activities (4per1000, FAO Global Symposium on Organic Carbon and the one on Food Security…), but it steered most of its attention on the dialogue and participation of civil society organisations. It is a fact that initiatives, experiences and proposals on soil fertility protection usually come into being thanks to Civil Society action. Their representatives are those, which pay more and more attention to protecting and regenerating soil.

The symposium was structured around 4 main themes:

  1. Nutrient cycling;
  2. Water filtration and water retention capacity;
  3. Inhibiting pests and pathogens for plants, animals and humans;
  4. Greenhouse gas sequestration and the production of healthy atmospheric gases.

400 participants contributed to discussions, which almost always took place in plenary sessions. This resulted in eagerness to achieve dialogue, and continue it in the future. Here joined the main Symposium recommendations.

This type of gathering between civil society and research centres certainly sets a good example. It allows to open up the academic world and reach out to those working directly with soil, and at the same time outline project paths, aims, and identify potential threats to combat together, and experiment solutions.

It is also what the SIP Forum is attempting to achieve.

For more information, please contact Prof. Gabrielle Bastien gabrielle@livingsoilssymposium.ca

The second Conference on Global Soil Biodiversity took place from 15-19 October in Nanjing (China). Nobody has any more fears or doubts about the importance of soil biodiversity. Time is arrived for an entirely new way of thinking about agricultural approach and it has to be based on soil preservation and not solely on produce.

Over 1000 participants took part, mainly researchers and academics from over 47 countries worldwide. Plenary debates, seminars, workshops and poster sessions made up the full framework, entirely centred on soil and its biodiversity. The journey began from exploring the relationship between soil biodiversity and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), until the future of soil biodiversity. Sustainable agriculture was also a featured topic, together with the global biogeochemical cycle, the reinforcement of ecosystem services, environmental well-being, evaluation methods, link between soil structure and its functions, relationship with what is both below and above the ground, and finally outline the ecological dynamic, its evolution and the obtaining of specific operational tools.

It is not possible to summarize all that was said in terms of information, data, and proposals throughout the conference. Those who are interested may find more details by purchasing the conference volume currently in press and expected to be released by December 2017. The third conference is to take place in 2020.

Programme with a summary of the main sessions: http://ddl.escience.cn/f/PsCF

Further information: https://globalsoilbiodiversity.org/