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By alpinesoils

Soil Ecosystem Service – Cultural and natural archives

Outputs: The Preserved heritage of former/ancient cultures, preserved natural phenomena.

Definition: The cultural and natural archives soil ecosystem service is the capacity of soils to preserve/save/stop degradation and the extinction of artefacts made from a variety of materials humans were using in the past (e.g. pottery, jewellery, tools, bones, metals, etc. ) or built structures (foundations of houses, roads, workshops, etc.).  A particular soil can be the natural phenomena when they feature attractive, rare, unique structures and features, or they just cover and preserve some natural features (biological phenomena) from being destroyed by humans or natural processes.

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Soil Ecosystem Service – Recreational and landscape-related services

Outputs: Human physical and spiritual health and wellbeing

Definition: Soil fundamentally contributes to the appearance and diversity of landscapes and largely defines a range of land uses in the Alps. Land-uses/landscapes enable diverse aesthetic, spiritual, cultural, and physical experiences to humans and are the physical and aesthetical framework for a range of recreational and touristic activities in the Alps.

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The Alpine Soil Information & Decision Support Platform

The web based Platform encourages stakeholders from cross-cutting sectors like forestry, agriculture, spatial planning to benefit from the first Alps-wide Soil Information and Decision Support Platform that includes an expert Soil Consultancy Service, sectoral best-case practices, soil information etc. in order to integrate soil topic into local and regional management and planning.
The Alpine Soil Web-Platform aims to disseminate:

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Is the Soil Conservation Protocol of the Alpine Convention implemented?

The Alpine Convention´s Soil Conservation Protocol (SCP) provides a comprehensive basis for soil protection. The protocol is already largely  implemented into national legislation, but not in all countries and not satisfyingly for all topics and levels. It is still rather neglected in many countries, especially by public administration, local policymakers and society. Especially in the Alps, soil conservation is crucial, because of the limited amount of usable area in mountain regions. In addition, the severe risk of erosion on slopes, underlines the special vulnerability of Alpine soils. Therefore, strategies for soil protection and soil management, which are suited to the specific topography and the diversity of Alpine soils, soil functions, and services, are essential. The SCP of the Alpine Convention provides a comprehensive basis, but there are still major deficits within its implementation.

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How to sustainably manage soils in municipalities?

More than 30 participants joined the four afternoon sessions under the umbrella topic “Pave the ground for the future” (Der Zukunft den Boden bereiten) to exchange, discuss and develop ideas and possibilities for sustainable soil management.

The participation of two regional governors of Tyrol showed that also for the political level soil is highly relevant and dealt with e.g. in the Tyrolean EUSALP presidency this year where a Soil Declaration will be formally decided on.

The cooperation with EUSALP namely with the Permanent Secretary of the Alpine Convention proved to be very fruitful and enabled to use synergies.

Topics that were discussed in the workshop series can be summarised around the topics:

  • Spatial planning instruments to reduce urban sprawl and develop settlement cores and vacancies
  • Climate change adaptation and sustainable decisions for the future
  • Green and permeable structures in municipalities
  • How to deal with soil information in form of soil function maps
  • How does organic agriculture deal with soils? How can soil organic carbon be stored?

The workshop series was designed very practice-oriented and showed with already implemented examples how sustainable soil management is possible in practice!