World Soil Day celebration in the Central European countries
World Soil Day - December 5 is a holiday for all soil experts and people connected to soil in any way. We present several examples of the celebration of this important day in the region of Central Europe as a contribution to the promotion of the soil within EJP SOIL programme.
In Slovakia on December 7, 2022, an event was held at the NPPC Research Institute of Soil Science and Conservation in Bratislava in cooperation with the Slovak Pedological Society, the aim of which was to connect the scientific sphere with decision-makers and farmers who apply unconventional forms of agricultural land management. The main mission of the event is to fulfil the goals of a unique research project within Horizon 2020 EJP SOIL, targeted project program aimed at mobilizing financial and human resources to involve not only scientists and researchers in the solution, but also farmers, foresters, land managers and owners, political and public representatives, the business sector, and citizens. The participation of representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic (Mr Matej Hudec, Mrs. Monika Halasova, Mr. Richard Lazur, a.o.) as other personalities from the sphere of NGOs and the public was particularly valuable. Presented was a Soil Mission Board goals (assoc. prof. Jaroslava Sobocká), projects CarboSeq and SERENA within the EJP SOIL programme (Dr. Rastislav Skalský, Dr. Jarmila Makovníková). Soil projects within Horizon Europe (Mrs Natalia Hurtová) was also presented. Very valuable contributors to the discussion were the performances of unconventional farmers who had the courage to practice a different system of land management than the usual conventional farmers such as Robert Dohál from PD Krakovany, Ján Šlinský from the Agrokruh Hrubý Šúr, Ondrej Mišák from PD Vajnory. Farmers – practitioners - presented their methods of sustainable land management with the aim of preserving the land for future generations. 50 experts participated in the seminar and discussion was enormous. In essence, connection succeeded with practice on a platform of mutual dialogue to solve the urgent soil challenges of the today.
In Hungary the World Soil Day is widely celebrated by the Hungarian Soil Science Society on 5th of December every year. To mark the occasion, the EJP SOIL National Hub Workshop was held at the Ministry of Agriculture to present the efforts made in the field of soil conservation in Hungary this year. At the event, State Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development (Dr. Zsolt Feldman) welcomed and presented expected the agricultural subsidies of the new budget cycle, a significant part of which is linked to the achievement of Soil Mission objectives. He underlined that the Ministry of Agriculture supports soil-conscious farming by all means. The event also included the new CAP measures (Dr. Anikó Juhász, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture), EU policy objectives and related support instruments (Orsolya Frizon-Somogyi, Deputy Head of Unit, DG AGRI) and the latest developments of the Horizon Europe research framework programme (Krisztina Szabó Teréz, Expert, Express Innovation Agency). The ceremony included a brief introduction of the EJP SOIL National Hub members and soil science (research institutes and universities) workshops. In line with this, within a moderated free discussion, EU Horizon 2020 soil related programmes, like EJP SOIL were presented by the National Coordinator (Dr. Zsófia Bakacsi, ATK TAKI), furthermore the information roll-up was displayed at the conference. Thanks to the cooperation between the Hungarian Soil Science Society (HSSS) and the Ministry of Agriculture, the “Soil of the Year 2022” profile was also unveiled. Afterwards, President of the HSSS (Dr. Endre Dobos) described the professional and coordination activities of the HSSS. The World Soil Day also marked the premiere of the film “Soil = Life”, produced by EJP SOIL National Communication Representative (Dr. Péter László, ATK TAKI), took place.
In Slovenia, on World Soil Day, December 5, 2022, Prof. Dr. Helena Grčman presented the Soils of the Year. Under the theme "Soils - Where Food Begins," Eutric Brown Soils were selected as the SOIL of 2022. These soils are the most important soils for food production in Slovenia. Eutric brown soils cover (ERT) 15.5% of the area of Slovenia. They occur on various parent substrates, mainly on clastic sedimentary rocks. The largest part (19.3%) of ERT is on flysch, followed by ERT on marl, which, together with ERT on marly limestones, account for 20.6% of ERT. Eutric brown soils on alluvial gravel and sand deposits, which are important for crop production, occupy only 9.4% of ERT. Knowledge of the spatial distribution of Eutric brown soils is important for land use planning and protection of fertile agricultural lands. With this aim in mind, there were prepared the consultation program within the framework of the Slovenian Soil Partnership: 1) Monitoring the condition of agricultural soils (Mrs. Petra Božič), 2) Challenges of sustainable management of nutrients in the soil of Slovenia (associate professor Dr. Borut Vrščaj), 3) Ecological intensification of agriculture in the light of climate change (Assoc. Dr. Prof. Marjetka Suhadolc), 4) Let's revive the soil for the health of plants and people (Mrs. Vesna Čuček and Mr. Zvone Černelič), 5) Let's not degrade the soil of permanent plantations through incorrect use of agricultural techniques (Mr. Martin Mavsar), 6) Only living soil enables food production – ecosystem approaches to food security (prof. ddr. Ana Vovk Korže), 7) Soil of the year – Eutric brown soil (edited by Prof. Dr. Helena Grčman).
Eutric Endostagnic Cambisol (Loamic, Aric, Humic)
Spatial distribution of Eutric Brown soils in Slovenia
In Estonia, World Soil Day celebration in Estonia was initiated in 2010by the National Soil Science Society and by the Estonian University of Life Sciences. The highlight of the Soil Day was a practice-oriented conference organized every year near 5th December. Topics and structure of the conference is adjusted according to sectorial and policy needs. Besides of classical soil themes, topics such as education, culture and art connection were highlighted in year 2015. More emphasize has been on agricultural soils. Last year’s binding theme was soil fertility and fertilization. Ongoing EJP Soil activities were also presented in key-talk and poster session. In this event new “Soil of the Year” is always presented for the public. There is special session where short thematic videos composed by students or by research groups are presented. Soil Day event is organized in hybrid format – on-site event (ca 100 participants) combined with online broadcast and recording ensures good reach to various stakeholder groups.
In the Czech Republic – the Czech Society of Soil Science (CSSS) celebrated the World Soil Day already in 2002, even before it was officially accepted by United Nations. In 2022, a general assembly of the CSSS was held on WSD on December 5, co-organized by the EJP SOIL, with elections of new CSSS leadership and with a seminar on soil classification. At the elections, two members of the National Hub were elected as president (Bořivoj Šarapatka) and vice-president (Radim Vácha), the national coordinator of EJP SOIL Luboš Borůvka became another vice-president of the CSSS. The seminar was introduced by the president of CSSS, Bořivoj Šarapatka, describing the history and meaning of the WSD as a way how to highlight the importance of soils. One contribution on the current state-of-the-art, challenges, problems and perspectives of soil classification was presented by two EJP SOIL participants, Vít Penížek and Tereza Zádorová. A presentation on soil substrates was given by a member of the EJP National Hub (Anna Žigová). Another presentation by Jan Pecháček focused on the problems and advancements in the classification of forest soils. In the discussion, the necessity to take into account soil threats and soil ecosystem services in the classification was pointed out. The EJP SOIL and several partial EJP projects were also presented at the seminar in the form of posters.