Saving the ground beneath our feet: Establishing priorities and criteria for governing soil use and protection

Peake, Lewis and Robb, Cairo (2021) Saving the ground beneath our feet: Establishing priorities and criteria for governing soil use and protection. Royal Society Open Science, 8 (11). ISSN 2054-5703

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Abstract

The continual loss and impairment of soil ecosystem services (SES) across the globe calls for a fundamental reconsideration of soil governance mechanisms. This critical synthesis charts the history and evolution of national and international soil law and seeks to unravel certain challenges that have contributed to this failure in governance. It describes and categorizes law and policy responses to different soil threats, and identifies a worrying widespread absence of legislation for oversight and protection of agricultural soils from urbanization, as well as a lack of clear legal mechanisms to determine national priorities for soil protection. A reduction in the world's prime farmland threatens SES, including food security, carbon storage and biodiversity. Falling between the stalls of agricultural and environmental law, the fate of farmland is often left to planners who do not see themselves as responsible for soils. Consequently, legal instruments with the greatest power to affect soil, sometimes irreversibly, are often framed and worded with little or no reference to the soil. Nevertheless, emerging conceptual frameworks might offer positive outcomes. The authors advocate robust holistic policies of soil governance and land use planning that place SES and natural capital at the heart of decision making.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: agricultural land conversion,farmland preservation,land take,soil ecosystem services,soil governance,soil security,general,sdg 15 - life on land,sdg 2 - zero hunger ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1000
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2021 09:30
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2022 16:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/82689
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.201994

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