Healthy soils are key e.g. to mitigating to climate change, to preserving biodiversity and to achieving food security. However vast quantities of healthy soils are lost every day. This loss is not only caused by natural hazards but largely by human soil consumption. This is particularly crucial in the Alps, where the availability of the resource soil is especially limited.
Thus the Contracting Parties of the Alpine Convention committed to the goal regarding soil protection “reduce quantitative and qualitative soil damage, in particular by applying agricultural and forestry methods which do not harm the soil, through minimum interference with soil and land, control of erosion and the restriction of soil sealing” (Alpine Convention Art. 2 (d)). In the Soil Conservation Protocol of the Alpine Convention the Contracting Parties agreed upon more details for the implementation of the topic.
The XV Alpine Conference noted that an enhanced cooperation of the Parties in the field of soil protection is required due to the increased pressure on the use of soils in the Alpine region and the increased risk, e.g. by climate change. Thus the Soil Protection Working Group was established to foster the implementation of the Protocol by cooperating intensified on the facilitation of the implementation of Article 20 and 21, the interlinkages between qualitative and quantitative aspects of soil protection as well as awareness-raising regarding soil issues, peatlands ad foster exchange and cooperation with related networks.
Overview of activities, documents and results
Quo vadis soil protection in the Alps? Final report of the UFOPLAN project: Assessment of the Alpine Convention Soil Conservation Protocol and preparation/implementation of an international conference
Conference Report Alpine Soil Symposium “Soil Conservation Protocol of the Alpine Convention – between demand and reality”