EASAC report ‘Opportunities for soil sustainability in Europe’: Policy-makers cannot afford to ignore soil sustainability

26 September 2018

Soils play a key role in climate regulation, nutritious diets, agricultural livelihoods, and biodiversity. But soils have dropped down the EU policy agenda, despite their importance for society and nature. There are many opportunities for policy to safeguard the future of Europe’s soils and play its part in reversing global trends in soil degradation, says EASAC.

In a new report, Opportunities for soil sustainability in Europe, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), which represents the national science academies of the EU, Norway, and Switzerland, says its latest research reveals that policy-makers need to grasp opportunities to safeguard Europe’s soils and ensure their sustainability.

Back in 2014, insufficient support among Member States obliged the European Commission to withdraw proposals for a Soils Directive and Europe still lacks appropriate benchmarks for soils’ sustainability and needs to improve compatibility between different national monitoring systems. In recent comments, Elisabeth Köstinger from the Austrian Presidency of the EU discussed the importance of protecting soils; however, concerted action from Member States remains to be seen.

The project has been 2 years in preparation led by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, as chaired by Wim der Putten, Head of Department Terrestrial Ecology at NIOO-KNAW, and a working group of experts.

More information

Read the full press release (PDF)

Download the report Opportunities for soil sustainability in Europe (PDF)


The European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) is formed by the national science academies of the EU Member States, Norway, and Switzerland, to collaborate in giving advice to European policy-makers. EASAC provides a means for the collective voice of European science to be heard. Through EASAC, the academies work together to provide independent, expert, evidence-based advice about the scientific aspects of European policies to those who make or influence policy within the European institutions.