Media Release on World Soil Day 5th December 2016

World Soil Day, (5th December) is the one day in the year that the United Nations asks us all to think about the role of soil in our daily lives and how it protects us from many environmental problems. If we look to the problems of food supply, flooding, and climate change, many of the answers lie in the soil. This fragile crust of soil is complex and still mysterious, but every year scientific research reveals more about its importance to supporting our lives on earth.

As part of that scientific research, the RECARE project has gathered scientists from across Europe to find practical answers to sustaining healthy soil. From Iceland to Cyprus the research team are testing solutions to urgent problems of soil management, these trials are devised by the scientists working with local farmers and land managers.

Across Europe, test plots are being used to find practical solutions to soil-based problems as diverse as the impacts of wildfire on soil erosion to how to reclaim the soil from the deserts created by arctic winds in Iceland. Through to cleaning up polluted soils in Romania and Spain through planting trees and using plants to mop up toxic metals.

The University of Gloucestershire, University of Leeds and the University of Reading are the UK partners in RECARE.

Jane Mills, from the University of Gloucestershire, said,

“We are excited that the project has reached its mid-point, the community around the trials have been enthusiastic about taking part and making suggestions that we have been able to incorporate into our trails.”

“We know that answering practical questions about sustaining healthy soil critical not only to people who live in the area, but also to those who are impacted more widely. Once we have results from our trials, we will then share these not only across the UK, but throughout Europe. Work done here in collaboration with local people is going to have international importance as well as solving our problems through better management of the soil”.

The University of Wageningen in the Netherlands co-ordinates the project, Professor Ritsema said;

“We face many environmental challenges in Europe, but we know that we can manage soil more efficiently, and in doing so stop many of the problems people face. From landslides in mountainous areas, through to the flooding in cities caused by sealing over the soil, as soil scientists, we are creating many practical solutions. The RECARE project is working with people who are often affected by damaged soil, and we are using their knowledge to find answers that will make a difference quickly.”

“RECARE is a remarkable collaboration between scientists across Europe; I am sure that in a couple of years, at the end of the project, we will be able to announce a series of steps that can be taken to help preserve soils and protect people from the problems of damaged soil.”


Notes for Editors.

1 – For information on the trials taking place in your area please go to

2 – For a media pack, including photographs, local contact information and RECARE for Facebook postings, please contact Jane Mills. +44 1242 714137 @Jane__Mills *

3 – Suggested tweet text

“The plots to save our soils, how scientists are working with local people to reverse damage to the land @RECARE_EU”. The project and associated twitter account will retweet tweets mentioning the project.

4 – Watch more about RECARE on YouTube –

5 – RECARE is a project supported by the EU H2020 programme.

*Jane Mills is a Senior Research Fellow in the Countryside and Community Research Institute at the University of Gloucestershire.

Tagged on: