uksoils is an ambitious new initiative that aims to kickstart a nationwide appreciation and understanding of the economic, societal and ecological importance of soil health to support action and research. We will enable better access to robust, independent information, and provide a space for new proactive communities to share their knowledge and experiences of actions to improve soil health.
We are a growing group of scientific, campaigning and awareness raising organisations, all with a specialist knowledge of soil health. Founding members are UK representatives on the EU Mission for Soil Health and Food and its Assembly (the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Earthwatch Europe, University of Sheffield) and the Sustainable Soils Alliance. The group will continually seek new partners to expand the initiative’s reach and engagement and is delighted to have been joined most recently by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC).
We launched on the 4th December 2020, World Soil Day.
Why focus on soils?
Soils are essential for all life-sustaining processes on our planet. Despite the vital importance of soils and the range of ecosystem services they support (clean water, biodiversity, nutrient recycling and climate regulation to name just a few), soils are being degraded at an alarming rate. Approximately 33% of our global soils are degraded and 24 billion tons of fertile soil are annually lost from agricultural systems worldwide.
A recent assessment for Europe suggested 60-70% of soils are unhealthy. Alongside this, there is little public support for the need to protect and support this vital resource as it is hidden beneath our feet, with little media attention.
Why take action now?
Many global initiatives are emerging in the area of soil protection and awareness raising including the EU Mission on Soil Health and Food. The EU mission has identified the need to better link research and innovation with practice and policy to ensure a step change in soil health. This means the formation of new informed and active communities working together to improve the uptake and development of new sustainable land management practices.
We believe the UK should take advantage of this increased profile for soils sharing a joint vision with Europe as we prepare to leave the European Union and become a global leader in evidence-based policy and community action for soil health.
How will uksoils support change?
Currently, there is a fragmented community which needs to have better access to robust independent information, and a space to create new proactive communities sharing knowledge and experiences of actions to improve soil health.
uksoils are seeking your support to create a new online community hub to share information, generate new knowledge and support the formation of new proactive communities. Through this we aim to increase awareness and action to improve soil health in farmland, woodland, conservation areas, towns and cities.