Soils are essential ecosystems that deliver valuable services such as food production, energy and raw materials, carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, and nutrient regulation. Therefore, soils are crucial for fighting climate change, protecting human health, safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems, and ensuring food security.
In 2006, the European Commission proposed a Directive establishing a framework for protecting soil (2006/0086 COD). In the initial Commission proposal, soil acidification was not mentioned or recognised as a risk area. However, both the European Council and European Parliament identified acidification as an additional priority and requested amendments to the Directive accordingly.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 announced the update of the 2006 EU Soil Thematic Strategy to address soil and land degradation comprehensively and help achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030. Also, the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 highlights that it is essential to step up efforts to protect soil fertility, reduce erosion and increase soil organic matter.
Why is it important?
Annually, several million tons of minerals are used as liming material or inorganic soil improver in the EU, underlining the importance of the agricultural sector and soil management for our industry. Over the last decades, studies have demonstrated that acidic soils’ neutralisation using liming practices has a direct and widespread beneficial effect on the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological properties.
IMA-Europe expresses the need to officially recognise soil acidification as a threat to European soils and identify soil pH as a monitoring parameter. It is important to increase awareness and provide clear incentives to farmers and other parties to tackle soil acidification directly. This situation is regrettable and detrimental, especially when considering that sustainable soil managing practices, such as liming and the use of inorganic soil improvers, already exist and are widely available.