European Soil O-Live project urges soil care to ensure the health of human populations

The European project Soil O-Live, coordinated by the University of Jaén, has joined the celebration of World Soil Day. And it does so precisely in the week in which its coordinator, Professor of Ecology at the UJA, Antonio Manzaneda are participating in Brussels at the International Conference Food2023. This European event is analyzing the transition to sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems for the benefit of the environment and the economy.

Manzaneda recalls the concern that exists in Europe with the state of soils. “Studies indicate that, on a global scale, soils store about 80% of the carbon of terrestrial ecosystems and that about 60% of EU soils are in a degraded state,” he reports. “There must be a commitment from all citizens, stakeholders, institutions, companies to care for and restore European soils, acting on their protection and improvement at global, national, regional and local scales,” adds the Soil O-Live coordinator.

In Europe, the main objective of the Soil Mission is to make at least 75% of all European soils healthy by 2030. “It must be understood that without healthy soils there is no food security, which compromises the future of human populations,” recalls Antonio Manzaneda. In the context of this Mission, soil health is considered as the continued capacity of soils to provide ecological functions for all forms of life.

Finally, the professor of ecology reminds us that soil provides us with food, water, biodiversity and carbon sequestration. “Having healthy soil is essential for our well-being and that of the planet,” concludes Manzaneda.

The Soil O-Live project has a consortium of 17 partners and has a funding of almost 7 million euros under the Soil Heath and Food Mission of the Horizon Europe R&D&I program (the European Union’s framework program for research and innovation for the period 2021-2027).

Soil O-Live aims to analyze the impact of pollution and land degradation on Mediterranean olive soils in terms of multi-biodiversity, ecological function at different levels of organization and scales and to investigate the relationship of soil health status with olive oil quality and safety, among others.