Soil got new defenders
A group of top political decision-makers as well as business executives and media learned about the importance of soil in solving environmental problems at Qvidja’s experimental farm on August 24, 2022.
The course day brought the latest research information on the accumulation of soil carbon stock and its measurement. Regenerative farming was also introduced in practice in the field.
Qvidja’s host Ilkka Herlin introduced us to the topic through history. He talked about the dialogue between agriculture and population growth, as well as the shared history of nitrogen fertilizers and the arms industry.
Saara Kankaanrinta, Qvidja’s hostess and chairperson of the Carbon Action steering group, and Laura Höijer, Managing Director of the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG), explained us how climate, biodiversity, the state of the Baltic Sea and soil health are linked together. In the Carbon Action work, regenerative farming is developed and researched, which affects all of these. Activities are carried out at a hundred pilot farms and there are more than a dozen research projects and pioneering companies involved.
The Chief Scientist of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Jari Liski, brought out the potential of carbon sequestration of agricultural soil in mitigating climate change.
“We must return more carbon from the atmosphere to the soil, and that is possible along with food production,” Liski said. “During four years, carbon has been sequestered to the soil of Qvidja’s grass field by about four tons per hectare. That’s roughly the same amount of carbon as 20 cubic meters of wood.”
Under the leadership of Liski, scientifically ambitious soil carbon measurement and verification system is being developed as part of the stn MULTA project and Carbon Action work.
Hands to the soil
In addition to the plenary sessions, the programme includes three parallel sessions, each focusing on a different topic. Participants can choose between sessions focusing on either the connections between soil health, climate, biodiversity, and water protection, or soil carbon monitoring, reporting, and verification, or agricultural organic soils. All sessions feature speakers from organisations that approach the subjects in a slightly different way.
“We believe connecting real-world farming, policy, research, and business with each other is vital, if we are to succeed in our mission. That’s what we’ve kept in mind when designing the programme. We have worked to create a diverse programme featuring farmers, scientists, policymakers, and business representatives,” says Laura Höijer, Managing Director at Baltic Sea Action Group.
The session was financially enabled by the projects stn MULTA (Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland) and LIFE CarbonFarmingScheme (European Union’s LIFE programme) as well as Jenny and Antti Wihuri foundation.