On 5 December 2018 the European Commission put out an interesting document to explain the aims of the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Brief n. 5 is the one that deals with management of the soil. Over 16 pages the document stresses the importance of protecting the soil and its fertility. This is what it has to say about the importance of the soil:
“That soil is one of the most important natural resources that provide us with vital goods and services to sustain life is an understatement. Soil being a habitat and gene pool, it serves as a platform for human activities, landscape and heritage, and acts as a provider of raw materials. A healthy, fertile soil is at the heart of food security, thus rendering any threat to these functions a direct threat to food availability.”
The first part of the report describes the risks to which European soils are subject: erosion, organic matter (SOM) decline, biodiversity loss, compaction, contamination, sealing, salinization, and desertification.
The second part deals with good soil management techniques: agroecology, crop rotation, soil coverage, cultivation methods that combat erosion.
The third and final part deals with the challenges of precision agriculture. This term is used to refer to the activities of modern farming that use new technology to provide farmers with accurate and precise information so they can optimize the management of different soils in relation to their characteristics and properties.