FI-7 :: Soil-related preconditions for sustainable intensification of food production

Importance of food safety is increasing due to climate change and population increase. It is important to maintain and when necessary to improve soil functions and also intensify farming where possible. In the Northern Europe, agriculture should adapt to changes like shortening of frozen ground periods and increasing rains which can cause deterioration of soil granular structure and leaching of nutrients. Warming climate enables growing of new crops but these southern plants might not adapt to northern longer day. Organic farming has increased, but its effects to soil are not well known. Circular economy will increase demands to recycle manure and wastes and more data is needed how make it safely and cost efficiently.
Possible research questions may be:
Natural capital
• How to assess the resources of soils to foster productivity in different types of areas and according to soil properties and biodiversity?
Demand:
• Where and how sustainable intensification of food production is possible?
• How can the use of fertilizers be substituted by recycling nutrients from suitable biomasses, such as improving the managing of manure?
Net impacts:
• What are the impacts of nutrient recycling and organic farming to soil functions, ecosystem services and national economy?
• How much can productivity and crops be improved with soil management and crop rotation and what would be the alternative methods and measurements?
Land management:
• What kind of cultivation methods are environmentally and economically sustainable in changing climate?