Soil is vital to life on Earth. It is required to grow enough food to feed the world, sustain the trees so valuable as a carbon sink, provide a home for a quarter of the world’s biodiversity, and to support almost all human activity. Yet this essential part of our life is often overlooked and under-valued. Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, four include targets relevant to soil. This reflects the importance of soil to a sustainable, productive, and healthy life for all. But what makes a healthy soil? What is the future of soil research and innovation? How can it help reach these goals and mitigate the effects of climate change, and how has it helped in the past?
Soils are central to storing carbon, growing our food and maintaining biodiversity. Managing our soils sustainably is becoming ever more important, and there is an increasing amount of research and innovation being done to increase our understanding of soils but the very diversity of soils on our planet makes the designing of effective interventions challenging. Defining sustainability, defining healthy soils, identifying how to measure key outcomes, and learning how best to support farming are all areas for discussion in this challenging area.
In the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), UK Research and Innovation is inviting you to contribute to discuss past successes in soil research and innovation, and to debate what the key questions are that need the most urgent answers and where the future lies in better managing this vital planetary resource. This will involve a range of perspectives being considered. Short presentations will be given by experts providing their own viewpoints, and then we will invite you to provide your input and engage in further discussion with the presenters. In this way we hope to investigate the way forward in this area in an open and collaborative manner.
Whether you are a researcher or a policymaker, a farmer or an environmentalist, a stakeholder or an interested party from across the agri-food sector or other land use activity, you are warmly invited to attend this webinar.
Please note that during the webinar we will be using Mentimeter to ask polls and questions alongside the presentations. These will be used to gather thoughts, ideas and perspectives which aren’t specific questions to the panel, and will not require any download or sign up, being entirely browser based. This will be conducted anonymously and the information provided used to inform discussion.
- 15:00 – 15:10 – Introduction – Professor Angela Karp, Director, Rothamsted Research (Chair)
- 15:10 – 15:20 – Presentation 1 – Ronald Vargas, Secretary, Global Soils Partnership
- 15:20 – 15:30 – Presentation 2 – Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- 15:30 – 15:40 – Presentation 3 – Professor Diana Wall, Colorado State University
- 15:40 – 16:00 – Q&A 1 Theme 1 – Challenges
- 16:00 – 16:10 – Presentation 4 – Professor Chris Collins, University of Reading
- 16:10 – 16:20 – Presentation 5 – Dr Jonathan Scurlock, National Farmers’ Union
- 16:20 – 16:30 – Presentation 6 – Professor John Crawford, University of Glasgow
- 16:30 – 16:50 – Q&A 2 Theme 2 – Solutions
- 16:50 – 17:00 – Close Professor Angela Karp (Chair)
Find out more and register on the event webpage.