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Best practices of soil management in the Alpine region - Link4Soils

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Summary

Soil is the basis of terrestrial ecosystems. It is a fundamental natural resource. In the past, soil was primarily considered and evaluated in terms of its suitability for agriculture and forestry. Nowadays, we recognise that soil performs vital soil ecosystem services that enable the life of terrestrial ecosystems.

This booklet presents seventeen soil management practices in Alpine countries: i.e. Austria, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Slovenia. It reflects the diversity of soil and environmental management approaches used in the area, and the existing sustainable soil and nature protection management in different sectors and industries; mainly in agriculture, forestry, sports, and tourism.

Description

Soil is the basis of terrestrial ecosystems. It is a fundamental natural resource. In the past, soil was primarily considered and evaluated in terms of its suitability for agriculture and forestry. Nowadays, we recognise that soil performs vital soil ecosystem services that enable the life of terrestrial ecosystems.

Identified are role model soil management practices, demonstrating the potential for sustainable development, environment protection and positive social influence. Best practice influence depends on regional circumstances, such as natural environment, political situation, funding schemes or public opinion.

Sustainable management and the protection of Alpine soil enhance the quality of the Alpine environment and considerably contribute to the provision of soil ecosystem services and the resilience of ecosystems; this, in turn, helps to preserve biodiversity and ensure the well-being of humans. The Soil Conservation Protocol of the Alpine Convention, an international treaty, aims “[to] safeguard the multifunctional role of soil based on the concept of sustainable development.”

In a modest way, this booklet presents seventeen soil management practices in Alpine countries: i.e. Austria, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Slovenia. It reflects the diversity of soil and environmental management approaches used in the area, and the existing sustainable soil and nature protection management in different sectors and industries; mainly in agriculture, forestry, sports, and tourism.

We, the Links4Soils project partners, believe that a greater number of better, diverse, holistic and inspiring soil management and protection case studies are practised or developed in the diversity of Alpine countries.

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