SOIL matters

Our lives depend on SOIL - Fertile soils are the foundation of our existence

Soil is the habitat and the supplier of nutrients and water for plants and their roots. Fertile and productive soils are the prerequisite for a stable supply of food, fibre, animal feed, timber and other biomasses.

Sustaining soil functions

Soils sustain huge biodiversity and contribute to the provision of a wide range of ecosystem services, and as the largest store of carbon on land, soils are also in the nexus of the global climate challenges. Soils are part of the solution to realising the SDGs.

However, soil is a limited resource, and soil degradation including erosion, loss of soil organic matter, soil contamination and soil sealing are threats to soil functions. Intensified production due to rising global demand for food and biomass will only amplify the challenges.

Improved knowledge and farming practices are fundamental to address these challenges. Actions in stopping the damages are dependent on societal, scientific, policy, economic and educational capacities.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges 

Climate change projections predict major environmental changes for Europe, which will increase the probability of erosion and landslides, and potentially increase nutrients leaching in northern areas, while exposing other Mediterranean areas to periods of drought and heat waves and increased wind erosion. These changes require European agriculture to adapt to these changes and become more resilient to extreme events.

EJP SOIL's goal

Improve understanding of agricultural soil management by targeting:

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Food security and ecosystem services
  • Soil education in Europe and capacity building

Climate smart sustainable soil management is the adequate response to these key societal challenges.  

All agricultural soils

EJP SOIL will address all agricultural soils, i.e. soils under cropland (including bioenergy crops), grasslands, vineyards and orchards, agroforestry systems, hedges and marginal /degraded land, as well as urban agriculture. It will consider mineral as well as organic agricultural soils.


Learn more about soil

Below is a selection of videos demonstrating the importance of healthy soil and how our lives depend on it: 

Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity

Soil Organic Carbon

The hidden world beneath our feet - Rural areas

Why is sustainable use of our soil so important?