Bas van Wesemael / Professor

UCLouvain / Physical Geography

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

Main concerns in their field of expertise
The soil is the largest terrestrial carbon pool and slight increase or decreases in this pool will have important effects on the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Unfortunately, precise estimates of the soil C pool are still not available at a resolution that will allow measures to be implemented. We are working on improving the monitoring and mapping of the soil C pool so that policy makers and farmers can target the areas where measures to increase or maintain soil C are most promising. On the one hand the new generation of satellites enhances the monitoring of the soils and on the other hand international initiative such as the 4 per 1000 (https://www.4p1000.org/) raise awareness for conserving the soil for food security and climate.
Changes, actions
I have reduced my energy and meat consumption by c. 25 % in the last years: Meat only one or two times per week. Energy at home: electricity from solar panels, cycling holidays, commuting: 1-2 times per week on the bicycle (60 km return trip), conferences: travel in Europe by train.
Contribution to society: developing indicators for policy makers and farmers allowing to target measures for increasing the soil C.
Difficulties
I hope that I can continue the long rides to work on the bicycle. Concerning the indicators for soil C, I experience that soil is not at the centre of attention and has been neglected for a long time.
Key changes
We would need to raise awareness of the positive points in the climate mitigation. For instance cycling has a lot of health benefits and is enjoyable. Caring for the soil started in biological agriculture, but is now taken up more broadly because of its positive effects on fertility, decrease in compaction and erosion.

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