TOWARDS CLIMATE-SMART SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL SOILS IN FLANDERS: Part I: EJP SOIL survey on current policy ambitions and future soil aspirational goals

Greet Ruysschaert, Miro Jacob

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The study presented in this report provided input for EJP SOIL task 2.1 (Deliverable 2.5) on current policy ambitions and realisations for agricultural soils and soil management in Flanders and soil aspirational goals by 2050. It builds on a desk study of the current policy ambitions and realisations in
Flanders followed by an in-depth stakeholder survey including ten key stakeholder organisations (30 experts). The desk study includes an overview of targets, indicators, monitoring tools, instruments and management practices mentioned in policy packages that impact agricultural soils and soil anagement. Most policies that affect agricultural soils and soil management are regional atter and many are derived from EU policies. The largest focus in soil policy is on soil organic carbon, soil erosion, soil contamination, and nutrient retention/use efficiency. Currently, there are only few quantified targets that explicitly address agricultural soil challenges in Flanders and there is no systematic statistically-sound soil monitoring on-going. Policy documents mention a.o. the need to stimulate soil scans and smart measurement systems to facilitate data driven farm management and the use of decision support tools. Of all management practices mentioned in policy documents, 60% belong to the categories crop choice/rotations and organic matter/nutrient management and are indicated to
be important for multiple soil challenges. Despite the fact that soils are mentioned and targeted in many policies, an overarching soil policy framework is missing in Flanders. The potential gaps between the realisation of current policy ambitions and aspirational goals towards 2050 were scored by the stakeholders. Overall, gaps between current realisations and what would be futureproof targets are large for all soil challenges and most progress has already been made for soil erosion and soil contamination. To bridge the gap, practices belonging to organic matter and nutrient management are most mentioned by stakeholders (25%) and are regarded to be mainly important for avoiding acidification, avoiding N2O/CH4 emissions and enhancing nutrient use/use efficiency. Crops and crop rotations (21%) are regarded especially important for maintaining/increasing SOC and to avoid soil erosion. Cover crops/catch crops and more grassland are both by policy and stakeholders regarded as beneficial for multiple soil challenges. In comparison with management practices mentioned in policy, stakeholders paid more attention to the potential of practices in the categories tillage/traffic, agricultural systems and water management and less in the category buffer strips/landscape elements. Stakeholders also stressed the need for a system view and the importance to combine measures. A prioritization by the stakeholders indicated that maintaining/increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) is by far the most important soil challenge for the upcoming decades, followed by enhancing water storage
capacity, enhancing soil biodiversity and enhancing soil nutrient retention/use efficiency. From the policy and stakeholder analysis, an overview of knowledge needs and instruments towards climatesmart sustainable soil management in Flanders is derived and included in the report.
Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
Aantal pagina’s84
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - apr.-2021

Publicatie series

NaamILVO Mededeling
UitgeverijInstituut voor Landbouw-, Visserij- en Voedingsonderzoek (ILVO)
Volume271
ISSN van elektronische versie1784-3197

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