Europe's soils deserve better management

Maintaining or improving the health of Europe's soils is one of the most important challenges in preserving our livelihood. As a first step, the EESC proposes a joint EU reference framework with a view to laying down uniform terminology and harmonised criteria for good soil status

Every decade, Europe loses an area of arable land the size of a Member State

At its plenary session in October, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion on Land use for sustainable food production and ecosystem services, a request from the Estonian presidency of the EU. "We often treat our soil as if it was abundant. Within a period of only six years, from 2006 to 2012, the annual land take in the European countries was approximately 107 000 ha/year, which translates into losing an area of arable land the size of Cyprus within less than 10 years. This enormous demand for land must be stopped", says Roomet Sõrmus (Various interests - Estonia), rapporteur of the opinion.

A reference framework for sustainable soil management

In all Member States, the loss of agricultural land poses a serious problem. "Our soils need to be protected. A joint EU soil reference framework defining good soil status, laying down uniform terminology and harmonised criteria for monitoring purposes, and defining priority policy measures would be of decisive importance for the sustainable use and protection of agricultural soil," says Mr Sõrmus. (sma)