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Journal Articles European Journal of Soil Science Year : 2023

A European stakeholder survey on soil science skills for sustainable agriculture

Abstract

The EU soil strategy for 2030 has set the objective of achieving 'healthy soils' in Europe by 2050. To achieve this ambitious goal, dedicated soil science skills will be needed in the future. This article presents the results of a survey on soil science skills for the future conducted within the framework of the EJP SOIL. The survey was distributed online in the 24 countries participating to the EJP SOIL. The skills were expressed as having knowledge in particular topics related to soils, practical know-hows or abilities, or outcomes of knowledge and knowhows put into action. No significant differences in the importance of soil-science related skills were found between countries or stakeholder categories. The two groups of skills that ranked at the top of stakeholders' concern were 'Having a scientific basis of knowledge on soils and their functioning' and 'Knowing how to mobilise agronomic drivers to manage and protect soils'. This means that there is a need for people with an in-depth knowledge in soil science, but also soil scientists with integrated knowledge in agronomy and crop production. Three important findings relate to the knowledge of soil science itself: i) there is a clear need to develop the knowledge of soil biological and ecological functioning; ii) this should not happen at the expense of a strong general knowledge of the fundamentals of soil science; iii) future soil scientists should be trained to have a more holistic appreciation of soil rather than be trained as a specialist of a specific aspect of soil science only. Being able to exchange knowledge with farmers, knowing how to assess soil fertility, quality, or health, and how to improve them are viewed as essential skills for the future. These findings offer a clear path for the evolution of soil science education curricula across Europe.
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hal-04370701 , version 1 (03-01-2024)

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Jennifer Veenstra, Yves Coquet, Romain Melot, Christian Walter. A European stakeholder survey on soil science skills for sustainable agriculture. European Journal of Soil Science, inPress, ⟨10.1111/ejss.13449⟩. ⟨hal-04370701⟩
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