Impacts of Climate Change Adaptation Options in Agriculture on Soil Functions: Examples from European Case Studies

A Hamidov, (submitter)


Soil functions are fundamental for food security and for provision of ecosystem services for sustainable development. Climate change affects soil functions directly through changes in temperature, rainfall and moisture regimes, and indirectly via adapted management practices. While comprehensive evidence exists for the direct effects such as increased soil erosion risks, accelerated nutrient turnover and gas fluxes, less is known about how agricultural adaptation pathways may affect soil functions. The objective of this study was to analyze the evidence from European case studies about the possible impacts of climate change adaptations on soil threats and soil functions, and link soil functions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We analyzed 20 regional case studies across Europe using Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework. Our major findings were (1) adaptation pathways reflected local conditions, (2) reduced soil erosion threats and decelerated organic matter decline were anticipated in more than half of the cases, but soil compaction risks may increase in some areas, (3) the majority of adaptation pathways were expected to improve three soil functions, namely food and biomass production, carbon sequestration, and storing, filtering, transforming and recycling capacities, with little evidence about possible implications for soil biodiversity, (4) the linkage between soil functions and SDGs suggest improvements regarding SDG 2 (food security and sustainable agriculture) and SDG 13 (climate action), whereas SDG 15 (terrestrial ecosystems) requires attention. In conclusion: while direct climate change effects are expected to increase soil degradation, agricultural adaptation may counteract this process in many regions in Europe.

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