Day 2 Annual Science Days 2022

Day 2 programme

Day 2, 9/6, morning: 9:00 – 12:30


WHO? EJP SOIL consortium + external call partners




Parallel breakout sessions 3

  • Carbon storage and trade-offs (session B)
  • Soil indicators and assessing ecosystem services
  • Soils and education




Parallel breakout sessions 4

  • Incentives for carbon sequestration and soil health
  • Carbon sequestration and amendments
  • Soil biodiversity and ecosystem services


Plenary closing sessions – outlook EJP SOIL activities

List of breakout sessions with description

Session 3

Carbon storage and trade-offs (session B)

(this session will be split into two sessions, more information on the concept will soon be available)

  • Session conveners: Felix Seidel (Thuenen, CarboSeq project), Alessandra Lagomarsino (CREA, SOMMIT project)
  • Internal EJP SOIL projects with main link to this theme: CarboSeq, SOMMIT, TRACE-SOILS, INSURE
  • Description
    Carbon sequestration in agricultural soils is a strategy that can contribute to mitigate climate change. The key for soil carbon sequestration is having a positive balance between carbon inputs and outputs. Enhanced inputs of organic matter to the soil can be achieved by improved management options, such as minimizing soil disturbance, use of cover crops, incorporation of crop residues, addition of organic matter, or optimization of varieties with increased root biomass. In cultivated peat soils, rewetting is needed to decrease carbon outputs and therefore achieve carbon sequestration.

    Increasing soil organic carbon has several co-benefits, beyond climate change mitigation, including improvement of soil health, fertility and water holding capacity. On the other side, agricultural strategies aimed at increasing carbon sequestration affect soil N2O, CO2 and CH4 fluxes, and N leaching. These trade-offs of carbon sequestration may hamper climate change mitigation efforts. Thus, the overall effect of management practices needs to be evaluated to appropriately quantify their environmental impact. 

    In this session, we welcome contributions that give insights into the topic of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural lands. A special focus will be given to management practices affecting this process, as well the trade-offs (especially N2O and CH4 fluxes as well as N and P losses) associated with changes in soil carbon.

Soil indicators and assessing ecosystem services

  • Session conveners: Isabelle Cousin (INRAE, SERENA), Stefano Mocali (CREA, MINOTAUR)
  • Internal EJP SOIL projects with main link to this theme: SIREN, SERENA, MINOTAUR
  • Description 

    Soil functions contribute to provide (soil-based) ecosystem services (ES), here defined as the benefits human obtain from the ecosystem. Although most of these functions are related to the soil biological activity, the current status and trends in soil biodiversity across Europe are poorly known, and adequate taxonomical and functional indicators are needed to evaluate the vulnerability of soils and its ES to climate change. Thus, in order to assess the health status of soils, i.e. its capacity of continuous provision of ecosystem services, there is the need to define robust indicators for assessment and monitoring, in joint programming with participating Member States' national policy and programmes for soil quality monitoring, with taking into account not only biological processes but embracing all the bio-chemical-physical processes occurring in soils. As soil-based ecosystem services co-occur in space and overlap interacting at different spatial and temporal scales, their spatial distribution, as well as their spatial synergies and trade-offs must also be known. 

    The aim of this call is then collecting contributions on functional indicators their modelling and mapping, as well as methodological approaches and applications aimed to the characterization of bundles of soil ES and soil threats The definition and evaluation of indicators including specific references to soil biodiversity and target values for healthy soils are particularly welcome. 


Soils and education

  • Session conveners: Jennie Barron (SLU, EJP SOIL WP5), Bozena Smerczak (IUNG, EJP SOIL WP5)
  • DescriptionAs the Green deal, Farm to fork  and climate legislations focussing especially on mitigation are moving into action, soil science  expertise and knowledge is expected to be in higher demand by both public and private actors, from farm fields, to policy and legislation. Under EJP SOIL, we have developed some understanding on the current state of European soil science higher education and the demand for the future. However, as soil knowledge, data and tools and applications  develop, the  capacity building will need to continue to evolve among practitioners, policy and society at large, - not just among scientists. In this session, we invite studies sharing  experiences and results  (case studies, reviews) on four key points of capacity building elements to reach beyond  the academic spheres:
    • Reaching professionals beyond  scientists: how can universities and technical colleges (tertiary education ) contribute to continuous soil knowledge development for practitioners  and policy  professionals working with soils ? How will scientist build new knowledge with farmers and extension service (public –private) ?
    • Reaching citizens and consumer:  How can consumer be better aware of soil health issues related to their food and bio based produce ?
    • Scientist and practitioners: How can scientists be more embedded and understand the realities of soil management and use ?
    • Tools and methods for sharing new soil knowledge beyond academics : what tools, methods and technologies can help share soil data and knowledge to other communities of practise + how can data and knowledge be made more informative and accessible? Tools/ approached  that helps making soil science accessible for all
  • We welcome cases studies , reviews or other contributions , with transparent data, information and evaluation approach,  for oral presentation and discussion in the session”

Session 4

Incentives for carbon sequestration and soil health

  • Session conveners: Martin Hvarregaard Thorsoe & Morten Graversgaard (AU, Road4Schemes)
  • Internal EJP SOIL projects with main link to this theme: Road4Schemes
  • Description
    Enhancing the potential of soils to store more carbon while maintaining existing SOC levels, especially on peatlands and other carbon-rich soils, is a key lever for mitigating climate change. To maintain and increase SOC content there is a need for integration of research into policy design as well as policy implementation ensuring mutual benefits for stakeholders, soils and society. This is relevant and across Europe where carbon farming is emphasised in current policy strategies.

    In order to ensure acceptance among land-users and policymakers, there is a need to understand how such practices can be implemented in current farming systems, along with the necessary monitoring, reporting and verification systems.

    In this session, we welcome contributions that discuss opportunities for designing Carbon Farming schemes as a means for increasing carbon sequestration and prevent emissions of GHG in the agro-food system. Particular attention will be given to the opportunities to develop result-based carbon farming schemes where payment levels reflect the actual impact of the management practices on carbon stocks (relative to a benchmark).

Carbon sequestration and amendments

  • Session conveners: Sabine Houot (INRAE, EOM4SOIL)
  • Internal EJP SOIL projects with main link to this theme: CarboSeq WP3, EOM4SOIL
  • Description
    Besides C input to soil coming from plant biomass (crop residues, cover crops, root biomass), the application of organic amendments can also enhance carbon sequestration in soils. These organic amendments are mainly issued from exogenous organic matters (not directly produced from the soil where application occurs), coming from organic wastes or by-products related to other activities and often treated before application for different purposes (sanitation, stabilisation of organic matter,…). Their production and application also provide other services such as the recycling of nutrients thus contributing to circular economy, the production of renewable energy with the development of anaerobic digestion. Their efficiency at increasing carbon stocks in soils or providing nutrients varies with the characteristics of their organic matter thus with their origin and treatment applied before application. On the other hand, side-effects can occur related to their application (input of contaminants, excess of nutrients and losses through gas emission or leaching…), but also to modification of the cropping systems associated with anaerobic digestion and potential consequences on food production, enhanced contamination… These side-effects could be minimized through improved process treatment before application, management practices. Multi-criteria evaluation tools should be developed in order to balance benefits and side-effects. Contributions for this session are expected to better understand the efficiency of organic amendments at providing services (C storage and associated others), explore the associated side-effects and how the treatment process may contribute to enhance the benefits and decrease the potential  impacts, propose multicriteria evaluation tools potentially useful to define best management practices of organic amendments use in crop production.

Soil biodiversity and ecosystem services

  • Session conveners: Alessandra Trinchera (CREA, AGROECOSeqC), Anke Hermann (SLU, EnergyLink)
  • Internal EJP SOIL projects with main link to this theme: AGROECOSeqC, EnergyLink
  • Description
    Soil microorganisms are key players in governing the terrestrial carbon cycle as they are responsible for the decomposition of both organic inputs from plants and of soil organic matter. However, there is still no consensus about how to explicitly represent their role in terrestrial carbon cycling and whether plant diversity may shape microbial community. This breakout session will focus on the importance of soil biodiversity, their influence on ecosystem services such as climate regulation and food security: for example, evaluating the role of fungal communities in agroecosystems, promotion of beneficial plant-microbe symbioses, including biological nitrogen fixation and improving our understanding between the link of above-ground crop diversification and below-ground soil processes.

    Contributions using labelling methods, molecular markers, assessment of plant diversity, geno- and phenotypic profiling of soil microbial community, soil soluble C pools, greenhouse gas emission, such as indicators of supplied ecosystem services making use of long-term experiments from crop- and grasslands as well as application of modelling and multivariate approaches are welcome.