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Översiktsartikel2024Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Towards enhanced adoption of soil-improving management practices in Europe

Heller, Olivier; Bene, Claudia Di; Nino, Pasquale; Huyghebaert, Bruno; Arlauskiene, Ausra; Castanheira, Nadia L.; Higgins, Suzanne; Horel, Agota; Kir, Alev; Kizekova, Miriam; Lacoste, Marine; Munkholm, Lars J.; O'Sullivan, Lilian; Radzikowski, Pawel; Rodriguez-Cruz, M. Sonia; Sanden, Taru; Sarunaite, Lina; Seidel, Felix; Spiegel, Heide; Stalenga, Jaroslaw; Uusi-Kamppae, Jaana; Vervuurt, Wieke; Keller, Thomas; Vanwindekens, Frederic
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Sustainable agricultural soil management practices are key to restore, maintain and improve soil health. The European Joint Programme for SOIL (EJP SOIL) has identified twelve main soil challenges in Europe. To assess the potential and eventually increase the adoption of soil-improving management practices, it is necessary to know (i) the current levels of adoption of the practices, (ii) socio-technical barriers influencing their adoption, and (iii) their bio-physical limits. This study compiled an inventory of soil-improving management practices relevant to European conditions, and used a survey among soil scientists to assess the levels of adoption of these practices in Europe. In total, 53 soil management practices were identified that address one or several of the soil challenges. The adoption of most practices was low or spatially heterogeneous across Europe, highlighting region-specific limitations to sustainable soil management. Qualitative interviews were conducted to explore the importance of socio-technical aspects of adoption. Using conservation agriculture as an example, factors that can hinder adoption included the availability of knowledge and adequate machinery, financial risks, and farming traditions. Through a modelling approach, 54% of arable land in Europe was found to be suitable for cover cropping, indicating that the adoption of soil management practices is frequently limited by climatic constraints. We propose a region-specific approach that recognizes the importance of identifying and overcoming socio-technical barriers, and by acknowledging bio-physical limits that may be expanded by innovation.


conservation agriculture; cover crops; EJP SOIL; soil challenges; soil degradation; soil health; soil restoration; soil threats; sustainable soil management

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European Journal of Soil Science
2024, Volym: 75, nummer: 2, artikelnummer: e13483
Utgivare: WILEY

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