Agile researchers submit evidence for parliamentary inquiry into soil health
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The Agile Sprint team investigating how we scale up Nature-based Solutions in the UK recently submitted a statement for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee call for evidence on how to improve soil health in the UK.
Drawing on recent research for the Sprint, and in collaboration with CO2RE, the greenhouse gas removal hub, the statement highlighted the importance of soil health to provide essential ecosystem services, from food provision to climate change mitigation, and that encouraging and monitoring improvements in soil health should be a key policy ambition.
The statement noted the importance of promoting agroecology in the UK, noting some measures to support silvoarable and silvopasture in the Environmental Land Management scheme, and considered where greater flexibility may be beneficial to ensure widespread adaption of more sustainable agricultural practices. It also called for programmes to assess the potential soil health impacts (positive or negative) of bioenergy crops, biochar application and enhanced rock weathering, given the significant interest of these for climate change mitigation.
It also urged the committee to think beyond just agricultural management in trying to improve soil health. In particular, highlighting that ecological restoration is essential for wider nature recovery objectives, with improved soil health a key factor in ecosystem recovery. The statement was published online by the Government, and the team are planning to expand it into a standalone report.