Project Newsletter #5


Welcome back to our 5th semi-annual newsletter!!!

We hope you have enjoyed your summer break and be ready to enjoy fall colors and foliage. It’s time to catch up on our latest news and achievements.

Read the “Project News” to find out how the project’s tools are progressing and check out important “Facts and Figures” out of the Global Assessment of Soil Pollution report. Have a look at some exciting news “In case you missed” them and find out more on “What we are reading” regarding the holistic perspective on soil architecture as a key to soil functions. Finally, don’t miss out on the latest “Upcoming events” and remember to follow us on social media and the project’s website to get the latest information.

stay connected

Project News

SIEUSOIL partners are continuously publishing numerous articles in peer reviewed journals and international conferences, following the project’s progress and results.

You can access all 28 SIEUSOIL scientific papers published since 2019 here.

Facts & Figures

FAO and the UN Environment Programme have issued a joint report on the “Global Assessment of Soil Pollution”.
The joint assessment found that widespread environmental degradation caused by soil pollution,
due to the growing demands of agri-food and industrial systems and an increasing global population,
is getting worse and is one of the world’s major challenges for ecosystem restoration.

Here are some interesting facts:





New IPCC assessment report on climate

The much-awaited Sixth Assessment Report (AR-6) of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released on August 6th. This report warns that within the next years increasingly extreme weather phenomena will occur, and that the key temperature limit will be broken in just over a decade. The strength of scientific certainty the AR-6 carries about climate change means that action on reducing emissions must be accelerated.

Amongst the IPCC report key points are that Global surface temperature was 1.09oC higher in the decade between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900, whilst the past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850. Additionally, the recent rate of sea level rise has nearly tripled compared with the period 1901-1971. Human influence is at 90% likely to be the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice, since the 1990s.

It is also made clear that the warming we’ve experienced to date has caused changes to many of our planetary support systems that are irreversible on the timescales of centuries to millennia.

Compared with previous IPCC assessments, the focus of this report is mainly on solutions. It highlights links between nature and humans, including the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity, human health, food and nutrition, and adaptation options and limits.

Greenhouse gas emissions have long been known to be rising. Nonetheless, AR-6 highlights the impacts of shorter-lived greenhouse gases, especially methane. More than half of total global emissions come from human activities. More specifically 40% of those come from agriculture, 35% from fossil fuels, and 20% from waste.

The causes of climate change and the role played by agriculture and methane are by now a scientific certainty and as such clear action to reduce food-related emissions is imminent. Regarding land use intact ecosystems must be protected and degraded landscapes must be restored. Regenerative practices across the farmed landscape need to be adopted, keeping carbon in the soil through no-till cultivation, planting trees and hedgerows that sequester carbon and improve habitats at the same time.

Localised changes in land use and farming have been found to attenuate the impacts of climate change, including producing localised cooling. It is therefore very important to take action locally in averting the global crisis and ensuring a resilient locale as much as possible. This includes tree planting, resilient farming, increasing natural habitats and suppress pollutants that affect the local atmosphere.

This report is the first in a series as part of the IPCC’s sixth assessment on climate change. Upcoming reports expected to be issued in early 2022 will examine adaptation solutions to these impacts to prevent the occurrence of catastrophic scenarios.

In case you missed

Soil moisture responsible for flooding in Africa

The most complete hydrological data set for the African continent reveals that  the timing of Africa’s most severe floods is more strongly linked to the annual peak of soil moisture than of annual maximum precipitation. Find out more in this recent publication.

New 10-billion-yuan initiative to support agricultural modernization

Pinduoduo Inc., China’s largest agriculture platform, announced that it would launch a dedicated “10 Billion Agriculture Initiative” to face and address critical needs in the agricultural sector and rural areas.
Click here for more details.

New report on Net zero climate targets

Oxfam has published a new report ‘Tightening the Net’, on the implications of net zero climate targets for land and food equity. It calls for a “food first approach” to land-based climate action, which would include improving cropland and pastureland management to increase carbon storage in soils. Access here.

Assessment of soil health by measuring electric current

A recent researcher paper presents a new way to assess soil health by measuring the electric current produced by soil microbes which can lead to a simple and real-time test for farmers to determine whether their soil is productive. Access the article here.

Soil biology startup lands $15m funding

US-based soil biology startup Biome Makers recently announced it has raised $15m for its proprietary technology, using AI tech to develop sustainable farming practices based on soil analysis.
Read more here.

What we are reading

Α holistic perspective on soil architecture as a key to soil functions

The European Journal on Soil Science has recently published an opinion article on soil structure and its role in soil functioning.

Soil functions, including climate regulation and the cycling of water and nutrients, are of central importance for a number of environmental issues of great societal concern.

To understand and manage these functions, it is crucial to be able to quantify the structure of soils, now increasingly referred to as their “architecture,” as it constrains the physical, chemical and biological processes in soils.

This quantification was traditionally approached from two different angles, one focused on aggregates of the solid phase, and the other on the pore space.

The recent development of sophisticated, non-disturbing imaging techniques has led to significant progress in the description of soil architecture, in terms of both the pore space and the spatial configuration of mineral and organic materials.

Upcoming events


The fourth edition of Φ-week focuses on the acceleration of Earth Observation (EO) and the New Space economy. Φ-week will highlight how the New Space economy is developing in Europe and alongside competition worldwide, and how it can contribute to the EU Green Deal, Digital Europe Programme, Destination Earth initiative, UN SDGs, and in general to the EU Space Strategy and European space sector. It will be a free-to-attend virtual event for the public and in person for invited speakers, COVID situation allowing it. READ MORE

Global Symposium on Salt-Affected Soils

The Global Symposium on Salt-affected Soils (GSAS21) “Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity will be held in a virtual format from 20 to 22 October 2021. The main objectives of the Symposium are to share knowledge on salinity prevention, management, and adaptation and to establish critical connections between science, practice, and policy by facilitating discussion among policymakers, food producers, scientists, and practitioners for sustainable management of salt-affected soils. READ MORE

1st International Joint Congress on “Sustainable Management of Cultural Landscapes in the context
of the European Green Deal”

The objective of the congress is to shed new light on critical issues concerning the exploitation of ecosystem services, conservation of cultural heritage and to assess new perspectives to the future development of the cultural landscapes in the context of the European Green Deal. The Congress is open to scientists, students, educators, managers and policymakers. READ MORE


World Soil Day 2021 (#WorldSoilDay) and its campaign “Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity” aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. This year’s World Soil Day will focus on addressing the growing challenges in soil management, fighting soil salinization, increasing soil awareness and encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to commit to proactively improving soil health. READ MORE

Join us

The SIEUSOIL consortium is formed by a multi-disciplinary international team of experts from 23 institutions in Europe and China, specializing on conservation agriculture, soil science, environmental engineering, data and process modelling, LCA, semantics-based data harmonization, remote sensing, IoT, sensors and data fusion, DSS, machine learning and deep learning. Our team will be more than happy to answer to your questions or provide more info on the project.

Project Coordinator: Professor Dimitrios Moshou