Soil

To mark the International Year of Soils 2015 the Directorate General for Environment of the European Commission organises a conference on 'Healthy Soils for Feeding the Planet and for Climate Change Adaptation' at the Universal Exposition EXPO2015 in Milan (Italy) on 20 October 2015.

The European Union’s executive, the European Commission has published its 2014 work programme and priorities. The Commission has placed promoting growth and jobs at the heart of the programme. It has argued initiatives proposed at European level should support economic recovery and job creation and tackle the social consequences of the financial crisis. The Commission also stresses that Europe’s challenges also go beyond the economy and that EU action is needed to promote environmental standards.

A first step has been taken in identifying areas in Europe where soil biodiversity is most under pressure. A JRC co-authored article states that in 56% of EU territory there is a varying degree of potential threats, with intense land exploitation estimated as the main pressure on soil biodiversity. Life within the soil is vital for ecosystem services, but the current levels of below-ground biodiversity are poorly known.