Knowledge for better food systems

Soil structure and its benefits

This report from the UK’s Royal Society synthesises existing evidence on the links between soil structure and four benefits: biodiversity, agricultural productivity, clean water/flood prevention and climate change mitigation. It also discusses measurement of soil structure and sets out policy recommendations.

The report finds that the four benefits can generally all be delivered at once, although there may be cases where trade-offs exist. For example, measures to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality might cause short-term reductions in crop yield.

The report finds that there is limited evidence on the magnitude of soil structure improvement that can be attributed to any particular intervention - an issue made more difficult by the hundred of different types of soil found across the UK.

Read the full report, Soil structure and its benefits: An evidence synthesis, here. See also the Foodsource resource How do food systems affect land-use and biodiversity?

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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