My first degree was in soil science and it was great to see this beautifully illustrated Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas on display at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF2016) in Manchester earlier this week.
Despite all our lives depending upon soil, it is still remarkably poorly understood in many ways, not least being the rich reservoir of life in healthy soils. There are more organisms in a handful of good soil than people on the planet and we don’t know what most of them are. This new Atlas, which is free to download and costs €25 to buy, goes a long way in showing the fascinating range of living organisms in our soils around the world with some wonderful photos.
Despite the failure to agree a soils directive in the EU, much work continues to safeguard what we have and improve the way we look after the soils not just in Europe but globally. Last year was International Year of Soils, which hopefully has increased the awareness of the importance of maintaining our soils in a healthy state. If you want to know more about what is happening in Europe on this then you can e-mail Arwyn Jones (pictured) at the EC’s Joint Research Centre.
I was at ESOF2016 to take part in a session called FOOD 2030 debate: The sustainability and value of global and local food systems on Tuesday morning. This focussed on the results of an FP7 research project GLAMUR:‘Global and local food assessment: a multidimensional performance-based approach’.