Azara Blog: Europe's soil quality allegedly under threat

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Date published: 2005/05/03

The BBC says:

European farming is being threatened by declining soil quality, particularly in eastern states, according to a report.

More than 16% of EU land is affected by soil degradation but more than a third is affected in eastern countries.

Costly measures to boost soil fertility put pressure on the Common Agricultural Policy, the EU's farming subsidy system, says the Soil Atlas of Europe.

Urbanisation, climate change, pollution and poor farming practices contribute to declining soil quality, it says.

The atlas, produced by the EU's Joint Research Centre, is the first full assessment of Europe's soil.
The major threats to soil quality identified by the atlas are erosion, the overuse of fertilisers and pesticides, the loss of organic content, pollution from industry, the loss of biodiversity, salinity, the compacting of soil by agricultural vehicles, landslides and flooding.

Authors of the report say farmers have failed to exercise simple measures to protect soil quality, such as composting it.

"We definitely undervalue the contribution of soil to our biodiversity, but unless we protect it better we will soon realise its importance in the worst possible way - by seeing the problems caused by its loss," said Janez Potocnik, the EU commissioner for science and research.

The study will form the basis of an EU soil framework directive which is intended to shield Europe's soil from further damage.

Who knows, this might be a real problem, but the last paragraph rather gives the game away, it's all about the Eurocrats foisting even more regulation on Europe. And you always have to worry when a bunch of academics believes that "farmers have failed to exercise simple measures". What do these patronising academics think, farmers are stupid and lazy? And how about "we definitely undervalue the contribution of soil to our biodiversity". You could say "we definitely undervalue XXX" for just about any XXX that you care about that the rest of the world does not equally worry about night and day. And the equally bleak "if we don't do YYY then the world will end". What would most help Europe is the sacking of the EU-rocracy.

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