May 2022

Alpine Soil News 1/2022

Members of the Alpine Convention Working Group on Soil Protection and the Alpine Soil Partnership share their updates:

Caretaker of the Month: Soil Protection

“Soil” was the Climate Action Plan 2.0 implementation pathway chosen for the Alpine Climate Board’s “Caretaker of the Month” back in December. Read where the Caretaker for Soil Robert Traidl’s fascination for Alpine soils comes from and why soils are so important for the climate.



Caretaker of the Month: Natural Hazards
Wolfgang Lexer is the ACB’s Caretaker for Natural Hazards. In January he shared his thoughts on what needs to change in dealing with natural hazards in the Alps as well as the importance of transnational cooperation in this field.
Read more here
Across the Alps: Explore, Respect, Live!

On 1 April, the outdoor exhibition “Across the Alps: Explore, Respect, Live!” began its journey through Tyrol in the town of Imst. The main objective of the exhibition is to show how the Alpine Convention promotes the protection and sustainable development of the Alps. The exhibition consists of the former Glockner Bivouac and five side elements, each of which addresses Alpine issues such as soil and biodiversity. Find out more about the exhibition on the dedicated website.

Long-term action needed for soil protection in the Alps

Since results in the field of soil protection need endurance and continuous efforts, long-term strategies for relevant cooperation partners are necessary. Successful first steps are important and long-term approaches are required for core aspects of soil protection. Thus, the Soil Protection Working Group of the Alpine Convention is currently developing the Long-Term Action Plan for the implementation of provisions and declarations on soil protection in the specific context of the Alpine region. Stay tuned for this document, which will have relevance for you and will be accessible here after the XVII Alpine Conference in autumn.

LUCAS soil survey 2022 started
The Europe-wide LUCAS soil survey 2022 has recently started the soil sampling phase in the field. During the preparatory seminar for the coordinators of the soil survey in February, specific challenges occurring during sampling soils in mountainous terrain were presented from the Alps. 
What role can soil functions play in spatial planning processes?

Land take and soil protection as well as the role of soil functions in spatial planning were the two main topics discussed by participants from the Alpine countries during a two-day cross-sectoral workshop in Munich on 29 and 30 March. Jointly organised by the Alpine Convention Working Groups on Soil Protection as well as Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, with the support of the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Alpine Soil Partnership, the workshop showed that such cooperation between disciplines is fruitful, necessary, and should therefore be intensified. Read more about the workshop here.


© ifuplan

Map of the Month

The Alpine Convention’s new “Map of the Month” campaign showcases the new Atlas (GIS) tool which allows you to explore, create, and share maps of the Alps. The Atlas contains a wide range of Alpine data such as “Land use based on Corine Land Cover”.

Every month, a new map will be published on social media to highlight a topic the Alpine Convention deals with.



© Andrea Girardi


Alpine Convention film

The precious ground beneath our feet form the backdrop for the new Alpine Convention film, which aims to capture the essence of the Convention through beautiful and captivating scenery and a symphonic soundtrack composed specially for the video.


Transnational position paper on „safeguarding open spaces in the Alpine region”

A group of members of the AlpPlan network, a transnational network of spatial planning practitioners and researchers coordinated by the Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association (ARL), elaborated the position paper “Safeguarding open spaces in the Alpine region”. It contains assessments and recommendations related to key spatial challenges of transnational relevance in the Alpine region, focussing on the issue of safeguarding open spaces with regard to the continuous land take and landscape fragmentation. The paper can be downloaded from the ARL website.


CIPRA International advocates for a careful treatment of the soils of the Alps. With its project “Saving:Soils”, CIPRA International is working for a trend reversal in the use of land in peri-urban areas. In order to put scientific findings into practice, the project makes pilot examples visible and encourages imitation. How land sealing, land speculation and fiscal disincentives affect housing prices and food security and why the ecological transition can only be participative and attentive to history can be heard in two new episodes of the CIPRA podcast (in German and French). 

© Darko Todorovic

Attention for soil protection

During a workshop with over 50 participants, the Legal Service Centre Alpine Convention of CIPRA Austria assessed which obligations the Soil Conservation Protocol contains and what the implementation of the protocol looks like in Austria. The results of the high-quality programme will be published in volume no. 7 of the CIPRA Austria series of publications about the Alpine Convention by the publisher “Verlag Österreich”. Previous publications of the series on Alpine Convention protocols can be viewed here. A short report about the workshop is available here. 


© Sebastian Reisinger

Alpine Peatlands and Climate Protection    

The project aims at fostering climate protection through peatland protection in the Alps. The main tasks are the development of methods to derive climate protection potentials and the creation of a network among Alpine peatland actors. More information on the project as well as reports of previous and information on upcoming workshops for international knowledge transfer are available here.



© Sylvia Holzträger

Plant species richness on mountain pastures in Austria

Mountain pastures in Austria are characterised by a high vascular plant species richness. Especially the plant communities on soils formed from calcareous mica schists have the greatest plant species richness, because calcifuge and calcicole species can coexist. For further information see here.



© Andreas Bohner

Conference “Free spaces for soil”

The Austria-wide initiative “Together for our Soil” is committed to a long-term and sustainable reduction of soil and land consumption. Solutions are developed together with actors from the sectors and fields concerned. At the conference “Free spaces for the soil” on 31 March 2022 in Innsbruck.



© Ingenieurbüro Schnittstelle Boden

Soil awareness raising week in Freistadt, Austria

The energy district Freistadt organized from 2.-6. May the KLAR! Soil Week to inform farmers and interested citizens about central questions regarding soil quality and the consequences of climate change as well as to emphasize the importance of intact soils. The participants were able to dive into in the complexity of soil with support of experts during the five parts of the event series. Read about it here.


© EBF-Energiebezirk Freistadt

LIFE Future Forest

It’s halftime in the LIFE Future Forest project – the Mid-Term Report has been submitted at the end of March 2022. LIFE Future Forest is a forest conversion project in the district of Landsberg am Lech: Spruce monocultures are a thing of the past and aren’t working anymore. We want to create a hardwood-rich mixed forest, which is climate resilient and provides a maximum of ecosystem services such as cooling, water filtration or CO2 reduction.

Our first successes:

  • Other private forest owners are working with our system. One key person here is Raimund Hofmann from Weil, who already manages a forest which meets all the criteria of the Future Forest system. His forest is able to bind up to 42 t CO2 per year. The Art & Nature Foundation also agreed to restructure their forest based on our system.
  • Networking with strong partners such as the interest group healthy soil and building agriculture have been found. The project team participated in lectures given by them and also gave lectures themselves. Ludwig Pertl from our team has recently been promoted to be the key contact person within the interest group healthy soil in regards of the forest.
  • Positive initial discussions with local companies such as Hilti or Hirschvogel regarding the certificate system and their possible participation.

Our Imagefilm: The brand new imagefilm can be viewed here:

©Bayern 2

Dates & events

EUSALP Landscape Conference

On the 24th and 25th of May 2022 the EUSALP Landscape Conference on the topic of Alpine landscapes and renewable energies in times of climate crisis will take place at EURAC Research in Bolzano/Bozen (IT). The aim is to foster an exchange about land-use conflicts related to renewable energy production. Join the discussion to find sustainable solutions and possible strategies to address the challenges in spatial planning, renewable energy production and land use. Please register here.


OpenSpaceAlps final conference & AlpPlan network meeting 2022

The central results of the Interreg Alpine Space project OpenSpaceAlps, including e.g. a handbook on open space planning and a series of strategic recommendations, will be presented and discussed at a final conference. The conference will be held along with the annual meeting of the AlpPlan network. It will take place on 31 May and 1 June 2022 in Bolzano/Bozen, South Tyrol (Italy) at Eurac Research, offering presentations, discussions, excursions, and networking opportunities both for practitioners and academics. The registration deadline has now been extended until 20 May 2022. Please find all information and the registration form on the OpenSpaceAlps project website.

Celebrating Soil, Seeds & Senses

At 2.334 meters above sea level near Innsbruck, Austria, AGORA presents itself to the public in June, convening pioneering policy leaders and practitioners to a Celebration of Soil, Seeds & Senses. This is an official Side Event of the EU’s first New European Bauhaus Festival from 9 – 12 June 2022.

AGORA’s director Verena Ringler will host the event, featuring biologists Stefanie Pontasch, Julia Seeber, Johannes Kostenzer, Thomas Peham, and Christian Steiner. Alenka Smerkolj, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention, will present the  Soil Conservation Protocol in its 25th year after it was signed. Practitioners Maria Legner, Melanie Plangger, and Claudia Sacher unveil their good practices. Architect Anna Heringer will explain how the built environment can foster ecological balance, while Christoph Thun Hohenstein, leader of Vienna’s Biennale for Change, envisions our future in eco-digital humanism.

Join AGORA European Green Deal’s premiere here.


Water in the landscape

Online workshop as part of the series Soil & Climate. A cooperation event of Climate Alliance and European Land & Soil Alliance. Workshop in German. More information here.




Terrain – Cultivar – Variety: 100 years of Tyrolean Gene Bank

Exhibition 29th April – 30th October 2022

The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum pays tribute to the work of the Tyrolean Gene Bank for its 100th  anniversary by celebrating the genetic diversity of native crops. In 1922, the agricultural scientist Erwin Mayr created the basis for the Tyrolean Gene Bank. It collects, documents, and preserves old varieties of agricultural crops such as cereals, potatoes, and fruit in Tyrol. On the occasion of its centenary, the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum is displaying the exhibition “Land — Sorten — Vielfalt. 100 Jahre Tiroler Genbank” to pay tribute to the work on the field and in research, thanks to which food sources and biodiversity as well as cultural heritage, are preserved. A selection of the more than 1,000 varieties which survived even sprout in the historical courtyard of the museum.

© Tiroler Landesmuseen

European Land & Soil Alliance Annual Conference

The European Land & Soil Alliance (ELSA) returns to the place of its foundation in Bolzano! The Province of Bolzano has gladly agreed to host the Annual Conference on 29 and 30 Sept 2022. Founded in 2002, ELSA currently has around 250 members in 9 European countries, representing more than 8 million people.

Find out more about ELSA here!