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RECARE Project Final Conference Presents Practical Solutions for Preserving Europe’s Soils

On the 27th of September in Brussels, the European RECARE project presented its policy findings on soil protection. Participants engaged in lively discussions around the results of 17 cases European case studies. Adriana Bruggeman and Christos Zoumides presented The Cyprus Institute’s findings on erosion in the Troodos Mountains and the successful communal mountain terrace rehabilitation events. The main results of the RECARE project were that through participation with stakeholders it is possible to implement practical solutions to many of the problems that are degrading and damaging the soil, with often severe consequences for people.

The event was attended by 103 people from 21 countries and benefited from live-tweeting, as the audience shared their thoughts and experiences, as well as pictures and videos as the event unfolded.  Josiane Masson from the DG Environment introduced the event, with contributions throughout the event from Jabier Ruiz representing WWF, Ana Rocha from the European Landowner’s Organisation, Martine Swerts from the Government of Flanders, Gundula Prokop from the Austrian Environment Agency, Tomasz Stuczynski from the Catholic University of Lublin, all speaking from the stage.  Many other stakeholder organisations were represented in the discussions and debates. 

The solutions discussed focus on a range of management practices, such as the use of mulching with forestry residues or straw to prevent soil erosion after forest fires.  Other solutions are technological, such as the use of submerged drains to avoid the loss of organic matter in peat soils.  Others look to longer-term threats, such as heavy metal pollution at sites in Romania and Spain, combatting problems in some of the most polluted places in Europe.  Some of the sites are considering the long-term decline in soil structure and fertility that undermine people’s livelihoods, leaving communities vulnerable and the environment degraded.  Through research across diverse experimental sites throughout Europe, working with local communities, the research team have devised practical answers to the soil threats that we all face.

Dr. Rudi Hessel, the scientific co-ordinator of the project said: “We were really pleased that so many people from policy, business and NGO’s joined us for the event to talk about our science and the implications it has for policy.  The event was an intense exchange of ideas and opinions in a way that truly reflected the approach of the whole RECARE project, that of participation and evidence-based answers.  The research continues, and we are taking steps to make sure all of this information remains available to people, we have solutions and we are going to make sure they are accessible”.

Dr. Ana Frelih Larsen who co-ordinated the policy work in the project said: “It has been really clear from the contributions on the event that people are concerned about the soil and the consequences its degradation has for the future of all of us, but it was also clear that there are lots of soil management techniques available and we need to find together ways of making sure they are implemented”.

An almost instant archive of the event can be found at this link: (

You can find the Twitter archive of the event at this link:

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Josiane Masson from the DG Environment, introduces the event

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The attendees in discussion

Photographs © Erik van den Elsen

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