Exploring the case for a national-scale soil conservation and soil condition framework for evaluating and reporting on environmental and land use policies
Soil Use and Management
Reason for embargo
Under embargo until 01/02/19 in compliance with publisher policy
It has long been realized that the conservation of soil capital and ecosystem services are of paramount importance, resulting in a growing case for a change in attitude and policymaking in respect of soils. Current UK and EU approaches are risk-based and focused on measures to manage and remediate the adverse impact of current policies and practices directed at maximizing productivity and profit, rather than one of resource conservation. Increasing soil loss and degradation is evidence that current policy is not working and a new approach is needed. In the UK there is governmental ambition to progress towards natural capital-led land use policies but, in the absence of a framework to determine the relative condition of the soil resource, the delivery of sustainable soil conservation policies will continue to be inhibited. Common Standards Monitoring (CSM) is an established monitoring and management framework (based on ecosystem structure, function and process) and has been effectively deployed for almost two decades by the UK Government for the monitoring and reporting of key biological and earth science natural capital and ecosystem services from ‘field’ to local, regional and national levels to the European Commission. It is argued that a CSM for soils could be developed for the UK's soil resources as well as for those elsewhere, and would be able to deliver a conservation rather than the current risk-based approach. It is capable of accommodating the complexities and variation in soil types and functions and potentially being practical and cost-effective in its implementation.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.