Soil contaminants

What are soil contaminants?

Soil is a complex mixture of minerals, organic material, water, and various life forms. In its original state, soil was an uncontaminated substance covering the earth. But humans have intentionally and accidentally poured harmful products onto it in some areas. The waste can hurt the soil and possibly human, plant, and animal health.

By definition, any substance in the soil that exceeds naturally-occurring levels and poses human health risks is a soil contaminant. As an example, arsenic naturally occurs in some soils. But if a person sprays certain pesticides on their yard, that could cause soil contamination. Lead is also very dangerous but occurs naturally in some soils. It was used in gasoline until 1989 and can still be found contaminating soils today.

The biggest risks for soil contamination are in urban areas and former industrial sites. Common contaminants in urban soils include pesticides, petroleum products, radon, asbestos, lead, chromated copper arsenate and creosote. In urban areas, soil contamination is largely caused by human activities. Some examples are manufacturing, industrial dumping, land development, local waste disposal, and excessive pesticide or fertilizer use. Heavy car and truck traffic can contaminate soil, and so can a single car. When soil is contaminated with these substances, it can hurt the native environment.

Where and how much contamination is added to soils will largely determine how that contamination spreads throughout an area. The type of soil will also play a role in its distribution.

How are people exposed to soil contaminants?

There are several ways humans can be exposed to soil contaminants. The most common are:

  1. Ingesting soil

Though it might seem odd to eat soil, contaminants can be ingested in a variety of ways. Young children may be particularly susceptible as they play in bare soil. Contaminated soil dust may also affect our food supply. Lavishly washing food products delivered from soil is very important. The biggest risk of ingesting soil happens when the soil is left bare. Covering soil with grass or other plants and mulching well reduces the risk of contamination. If people are eating outdoors near windy soil on a windy day, airborne contaminants may land on food before it is eaten.

  • Breathing volatiles and dust

When soils are uncovered, small particles can become airborne with wind for example. Construction or demolition work, mining operations, or poor landscaping efforts can make soil dust. Breathing in contaminated dust may cause physical or chemical damage to humans. For example, asbestos fibers can puncture the lungs. Chemicals such as lead can hurt the nervous system, including the brain.

  • Absorbing through skin

Contaminants may also be absorbed through the skin. Creosote is a common material used to preserve wood in the United States. This complex mixture of chemicals can leach out of treated wood and contaminate the soil. If creosote-contaminated soils are touched, then over time the skin may blister, peel or severely redden.

  • Eating food grown in contaminated soil

If you grow food in contaminated soil, there is a risk that your food will also be contaminated. Many housing developments and community garden are established in areas that served as industrial or manufacturing areas where contaminants may be present. Many vegetables and herbs can absorb contaminants as they grow. That puts you at risk if you eat them. Also, vegetables and herbs can have soil dust on them. Without proper washing, contaminants remain. Even when gardens or farms may be located on uncontaminated soils, the immediate proximity of contaminated sites, there exist a chance the contamination to be transferred to the food products by the wind.

Sites of special concern

Industrial and manufacturing sites

Industrial and manufacturing sites often have a range of contaminants polluting their soils. The type of contaminant will depend on what the factory was producing. Contamination can occur when chemicals leak out onto the soil. All are dangerous to human safety on their own. When combined, they may react with each other to create even more toxic compounds. Containment and remediation of these areas are costly, technically complex, and logistically challenging.

Landfills, junkyards and waste disposal sites

Landfills, junkyards and waste disposal sites pose high risk of soil contamination, much like industrial sites. These areas often contain a large mix of contaminant types like lead, arsenic, and petroleum products. All are dangerous to human safety on their own. When combined, they may react with each other to create even more toxic compounds. Containment and remediation of these areas are costly, technically complex, and logistically challenging.

Highway corridors, parking lots, areas of heavy traffic

Аreas with high concentrations of vehicles pose a lot of contaminant risks, both from emissions and fluid leaks. For example, presence of lead can be high in areas with heavy traffic emissions, and petroleum or oil leaks on roads or parking lots can be washed onto nearby soils.

Household sites

Household sites may not be an obvious site for soil contamination. But soils can get contaminated during housing construction. Petroleum products from the construction vehicles can leak and paint may spill. Homeowners may overuse pesticides or herbicides which inadvertently contaminate their soil.

Former farmland with build-up of contaminants

In the United States, many pesticides were composed of lead-arsenate between 1910 and 1950. At the time researchers and farmers didn’t know that lead caused health problems. As a result, lead is found in the soil of remnant farms today. In addition, there has been extensive development and production of herbicides since the 1950s. These chemicals need to be used properly; improper use can harm the soil, plant, and even human health. The use of high-load fertilizer applications may leave contamination in soils, depending on the crop and fertilizer type used.

The full text is available here.

Natural-Geographical Analysis and Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Cross-Border Area in the Republic of North Macedonia

Within the project “Identification and monitoring of polluted soils using innovative methodology” (MCSoil), implemented by association “Renewable Energy Sources Cluster” – Lead Partner and association “Ambrozija” – Project Partner, a Country Assessment Report on the situation in the cross-border area in the Republic of North Macedonia was prepared, on the basis of relevant data on the state of geodiversity and geological heritage of the eastern part of the Republic of North Macedonia, pedology, as a basis and scientific basis for further research, as well as analysis of geological and hydrographical data and socio-economic characteristics of the area. The main purpose of the analysis report is to detect appropriate sites for the implementation of innovative methodology for identification and monitoring of contaminated soil through magnetic susceptibility values.

The report is based on the state of geodiversity and geo-heritage of the eastern part of the Republic of North Macedonia and other components of nature (biodiversity and landscape diversity), which are the scientific basis for developing an ecological strategy for nature protection. In order to protect and preserve the ecological framework, one of the sites should be in a polluted area, and another location should be a clean ecological environment. The two specific locations are the territory around the old hydropower plant at the mine Zletovo in Probistip as a polluted area and Ploce Lipotelmi as a natural reserve or protected area.

The presence of heavy metals in soils is a serious environmental problem that directly affects human health and life and can be the result of various factors. As a result of the analysis and given the fact that the old hydropower plant in Probistip has been repeatedly assessed by experts as the second most important environmental threat in the country, this location is appropriate to use as a test site for the development of a new methodological approach.

The report is a foundation from which objects of interest for nature conservation should be identified, some of which should be re-examined in order to establish a definitive picture of the relevant objects and territories of interest in nature conservation in the eastern part of the Republic of North Macedonia.

The full text of the report is available here.

Key Facts We Should Know About Soil

Soil is the fragile, friable layer of the earth’s crust that covers the continents, between the surface and the bedrock. It is formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms. It is the interface between earth, air and water and hosts most of the biosphere.

Soil provides us with food, biomass and raw materials, serves as a platform for human activities, our landscape and our heritage and plays a central role as a habitat and gene pool. It stores, filters and transforms substances such as water, nutrients and carbon.

Soil is a key, largely non-renewable and very complex natural resource and yet it is increasingly damaged by certain human practices.

Here are some key facts  about soil

1. Soil makes up the outermost layer of our planet and is formed from rocks and decaying plants and animals.

2. Soil has varying amounts of organic matter (resulting from the decomposition of living organisms), minerals and nutrients.

3. It helps clean the water we drink and the air that we breathe — for free!

4. An average soil sample is 45 % minerals, 25 % water, 25 % air and 5 % organic matter. Different-sized mineral particles, such as sand, silt and clay, give soil its texture.

5. Topsoil is the most productive soil layer.

6. Ten tonnes of topsoil spread evenly over a hectare is only as thick as a one Euro coin.

7. Natural processes can take more than 500 years to form two centimetres of topsoil.

8. In some cases, five tonnes of animal life can live in one hectare of soil.

9. Fungi and bacteria help break down organic matter in the soil.

10. Earthworms digest organic matter, recycle nutrients and make the surface soil richer.

11. Roots loosen the soil, allowing oxygen to penetrate. This benefits animals living in the soil. They also hold soil together and help prevent erosion.

12. A fully functioning soil reduces the risk of floods and protects underground water supplies by neutralising or filtering out potential pollutants and storing as much as 3 750 tonnes of water per hectare.

13. Soil scientists have identified over 10 000 different types of soil in Europe.

14. Soils worldwide contain 1 550 billion tonnes of organic carbon (to be compared with an atmospheric carbon pool of 760 billion tonnes and 560 billion tonnes of carbon in living organisms and plants).

15. Soil captures about 20 % of the world’s manmade carbon dioxide emissions.



Restoring soils could remove up to ‘5.5bn tonnes’ of greenhouse gases every year

Replenishing and protecting the world’s soil carbon stores could help to offset up to 5.5bn tonnes of greenhouse gases every year, a study finds.

This is just under the current annual emissions of the US, the world’s second largest polluter after China. Around 40% of this carbon offsetting potential would come from protecting existing soil carbon stores in the world’s forests, peatlands and wetlands, the authors say. In many parts of the world, such soil-based “natural climate solutions” could come with co-benefits for wildlife, food production and water retention, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.

Ground up

The top metre of the world’s soils contains three times as much carbon as the entire atmosphere, making it a major carbon sink alongside forests and oceans. Soils play a key role in the carbon cycle by soaking up carbon from dead plant matter. Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and this is passed to the ground when dead roots and leaves decompose. But human activity, in particular agriculture, can cause carbon to be released from the soil at a faster rate than it is replaced. Few countries record data on soil-carbon loss directly from agriculture, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent assessment report, making it difficult to understand the degree to which soil carbon losses are contributing to climate change. The new analysis, published in Nature Sustainability, takes a look at how protecting and replenishing soils – both in agricultural and natural landscapes – could instead help to combat warming. If finds that, if techniques to improve soil carbon were rolled out at the maximum assumed level worldwide, they could remove up to 5.5bn tonnes of CO2e a year.

Counting carbon

For the analysis, the authors built on an earlier study which looked at the global greenhouse gas removal potential of all “natural climate solutions”. The term is used to describe a range of negative emissions techniques that aim to enhance the ability of natural ecosystems to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The research finds that a quarter of all the greenhouse gas removal ability of natural climate solutions comes from soil-based techniques, such as protecting and restoring forest soils, peatlands and wetlands.

The chart below shows the greenhouse gas removal potential of various soil-based natural climate solutions. The figures are shown in billion tonnes of CO2e per year.

The research shows that the largest greenhouse gas removal potential comes from protecting existing forests and reforestation. This technique could offset 1.2bn tonnes of CO2e a year, when only forest soil carbon is considered.

Forests soils are a globally important carbon store. They can be particularly carbon-rich because they absorb high densities of dead plant matter. Forest soils also play a significant role in absorbing methane. Another soil technique with large potential is “biochar”, according to the research. Biochar is a carbon-rich charcoal which, when sprinkled on land, can boost soil carbon storage.

Peatlands are carbon-dense boggy environments made up of partially decomposing organic matter. They cover just 3% of the world’s surface, but hold up to a third of its soil carbon. Restoring wetlands could also have an important role in removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, according to the research. Like peatlands, wetlands contain water-logged carbon-rich soils. A recent study found the Amazon’s wetlands are twice as carbon rich as its rainforests, with soils holding the majority of this carbon.

Co-benefits and costs

The study also explores the likely costs and co-benefits of each soil-based natural climate solution.

The chart below shows the proportion of CO2e removal for each technique that would be low-cost (black), cost-effective (grey) and not currently cost-effective (white). The techniques are grouped into three categories: forests (top), agriculture and grasslands (middle) and wetlands (bottom). A colour key indicates if the technique is likely to have co-benefits for air (yellow), biodiversity (green), water (blue) and food (red).

The chart shows how avoiding the degradation of forests, peatlands and wetlands would be the most low-cost way to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.

However, it is worth noting that ecosystems still face major threats in many parts of the world. For example, recent satellite data shows that Amazon deforestation could reach a record high in 2020. Meanwhile, the world’s largest tropical peatland is being threatened by a plan to drill for oil.

The full text is available at:

Road map for magnetic susceptibility screening of soils

As part of the activities of project „Identification and Monitoring of Contaminated Soils using Innovative Methodology“, with acronym MCSoil, it was developed а road map for magnetic susceptibility screening for development and implementation of a new methodology for identification and monitoring of contaminated soils. The main goal of the document is to be developed a detailed road map, comprising the important steps and necessary guidelines for producing a standard research protocol for magnetic susceptibility screening as a reliable instrument for detection of soil pollution. Soil testing and monitoring will be carried out using a specialized and up-to-day equipment for field measurements, which is designed for rapid, reliable and cost-effective assessment of the magnetic susceptibility.  The road map is elaborated consistent with the natural soil conditions in the both regions. It describes the exact methodology which will be used for assessment of the pollution. This methodology will be strictly followed during the measurements of the magnetic susceptibility of the soils in the selected areas. The four areas within the cross-border region, which have been found suitable for the implementation of the innovative methodology, were defined based on the findings in the country assessment report developed within the project as well.  The road map is the strategic plan that defines the goals and desired outcomes and includes the major steps needed to reach it.

The full text of the document is available here.

Natural-Geographical Analysis and Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Cross-Border Area in the Republic of Bulgaria – Country Assessment Report

As part of the activities of project „Identification and Monitoring of Contaminated Soils using Innovative Methodology“, with acronym MCSoil, a natural-geographical analysis and socio-economic characteristics of the cross-border area in the Republic of Bulgaria was developed. The basic goal of the analysis report is the selection of suitable sites for implementation of an innovative methodology for identification and monitoring of contaminated soils through magnetic susceptibility values.

The report is developed on the basis of theoretical, statistical and empirical data, aimed at analyzing and recommending two specific test areas from the cross-border region of the Republic of Bulgaria, where a new methodology for environmental assessment of the condition of the soil cover would be developed and implemented. The two specific zones are the territory around the Bobov Dol Thermal Power Plant, belonging to an industrial polluted  and the territory of „Choklyovo Wetland“, falling under the protection of Natura 2000.

The presence of heavy metals in the soils is a serious environmental problem that directly affects human health and life. The presence of heavy metals in soils may be a result of various factors. Due to the executed analysis and considering the increased public interest in the functioning of Bobov Dol TPP, precisely the area around the thermal plant is to be used as a test site for the development of the new methodological approach.

The development of a new, more accessible methodology for monitoring the content of heavy metals in soil cover would present to the local communities a new tool for civil control over the activities of the government agencies that are responsible for protecting and controlling the quality of the environment.

The methodological framework for the analysis of the degree of soil contamination by magnetic susceptibility also includes the selection of an area which is not subject to anthropogenic pressure. The proposed area should have a similar geological structure and similar soil cover characteristics.  In contrast to the territory around the Bobov Dol TPP, the territory of the Choklyovo Wetland which is under protection of Natura 2000 is characterized by a low degree of industrialization, a lack of main roads and large urban areas. These differences in the anthropogenic load are opposite to the similar natural geographic, geological and soil settings.

The full text of the report is available here.

Soil, land and climate change

Climate change has a major impact on soil, and changes in land use and soil can either accelerate or slow down climate change. Without healthier soils and a sustainable land and soil management, we cannot tackle the climate crisis, produce enough food and adapt to a changing climate. The answer might lie in preserving and restoring key ecosystems and letting nature capture carbon from the atmosphere.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently released a map showing that the top 30 cm of the world’s soil contains about twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere. After oceans, soil is the second largest natural carbon sink, surpassing forests and other vegetation in its capacity to capture carbon dioxide from air. These facts remind us how important healthy soils are, not just for our food production but also for our efforts to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
Climate change affects soil

Researchers can already see the effects of climate change globally and in European soil. For example, according to the EEA’s most recent report on climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europesoil moisture has significantly decreased in the Mediterranean region and increased in parts of northern Europe since the 1950s. The report projects similar effects for the coming decades, as the rise in average temperatures continues and rainfall patterns change.

Continuing declines in soil moisture can increase the need for irrigation in agriculture and lead to smaller yields and even desertification, with potentially dramatic impacts on food production. A total of 13 EU Member States have declared that they are affected by desertification. Despite this acknowledgement, a recent report by the European Court of Auditors concluded that Europe does not have a clear picture of the challenges linked to desertification and land degradation and that the steps taken to combat desertification lack coherence.

Changes in seasonal temperatures can also shift the annual cycles of plants and animals, resulting in lower yields. For example, spring can arrive earlier and trees can blossom before their pollinators have hatched. With the expected population growth, world food production needs to increase rather than decrease. This hinges largely on maintaining healthy soil and managing agricultural areas sustainably. At the same time, there is a growing demand for biofuels and other plant-based products, driven by the urgent need to replace fossil fuels and prevent greenhouse gas emissions.

The EEA report on impacts and vulnerability also highlights other impacts on soil related to climate change, including erosion, which can be accelerated by extreme climate events, such as intense rain, drought, heat waves and storms. In addition to causing the loss of areas of land, rising sea levels may change soil in coastal areas or bring contaminants, including salt, from the sea. In relation to land use, climate change may make some agricultural areas, mainly in the south, unusable or less productive while possibly opening up new possibilities further north. In forestry, the decline in economically valuable tree species might cut the value of forest land in Europe by between 14 and 50 % by 2100. A recent EEA report on climate change adaptation and agriculture highlights that the overall impacts of climate change could produce a significant loss for the  European agricultural sector: up to 16 % loss in EU agriculture income by 2050, with large regional variations.

Yet perhaps the biggest climate concern linked to soil is the carbon dioxide and methane stored in permafrost in boreal regions, mainly in Siberia. As the global temperatures increase, the permafrost melts. This thawing causes the organic material trapped in the frozen soil to disintegrate, which can lead to the release of massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which could hence lead to the accelerating of global warming far beyond people’s control.

Tackling the climate crisis with soil

In April 2019, a group of highly influential scientists and activists called for ‘defending, restoring and re-establishing forests, peatlands, mangroves, salt marshes, natural seabeds and other crucial ecosystems’ to let nature remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it. Restoring ecosystems would also support biodiversity and enhance a wide range of ecosystem services, including cleaning air and water, and providing people with enjoyable spaces for recreation.

According to a review of the existing information on the interrelations between soil and climate change (Climsoil report), around 75 billion tonnes of organic carbon is stored in EU soil. About half of these soil stocks rest in Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom, as these countries have more forest soils, and in particular wet organic soils such as peat, than the others. To put this in some perspective, according to the EEA’s most recent estimates, the EU’s total CO2 emissions in 2017 were about 4.5 billion tonnes.

The amount of organic carbon in EU soils may be slowly increasing but estimates on the pace of this change are highly uncertain. To make matters more complicated, the organic carbon stock is also constantly changing, as plants capture carbon dioxide from the air before decomposing and releasing the gases back to the atmosphere. A report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors — including land and food — need to be reduced in order to achieve the target of keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Despite the uncertainties, restoring ecosystems and improving soil quality could be a very cost-efficient measure in terms of climate action with a triple impact. First, growing plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to the FAO, restoring currently degraded soils could remove up to 63 billion tonnes of carbon, which would offset a small but important share of global greenhouse gas emissions. Second, healthy soils keep the carbon underground. Third, many natural and semi-natural areas act as powerful defences against the impacts of climate change.

The examples of benefits are many. For example, areas next to rivers (riparian zones) and green spaces in cities can act as cost-effective protection against floods and heat waves. Healthy land and soil can absorb and store excess water and alleviate floods. Parks and other natural areas in cities can also help with cooling down during heat waves, partly because of the water present in their soil. During dry seasons, healthy ecosystems can slowly release the water they have stored underground, mitigating the worst impacts of droughts.

Capturing the carbon in the air

There are also various methods for increasing land’s capacity to capture carbon dioxide from air. A recent European research project (Caprese study) found that the conversion of arable land to grassland is the most rapid way of increasing the amount of carbon in soil. For arable land, the use of cover crops — plants such as clover grown in between harvest and sowing the next crop mainly to increase soil fertility and avoid erosion — was the most effective way of increasing carbon stocks in soil.

In contrast, decisions to use land differently can also change areas, making them sources of emissions. Notable examples of this are draining peatlands, burning peat from bogs for heating, ploughing up grassland and cropland, which releases previously stored carbon. For forests, the dynamic is the same but with a different timescale. Like soil, forests are both carbon stocks and carbon sinks, meaning that they both store carbon and capture it from the air. In many cases, young, growing forests capture carbon more rapidly than old forests but harvesting old forests removes the carbon stock from the forest. Depending on how the wood is used, the carbon may be released sooner, such as when the wood is burned for heating, or much later, when the wood is used for building houses, for example.

Healthier soils and land ecosystems could capture and store more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they currently do. Green spaces and natural areas could also help people and nature to adapt to the inevitable changes in our climate. Soil alone cannot fix climate change but it needs to be factored in and could be a powerful partner in our efforts.

EU action and EEA work on soil and climate change

The EU thematic strategy for soil protection and its implementation report emphasise the importance of healthy soil in both climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Paris Agreement highlights the critical role of the land use sector in climate action.

Following suit, a new EU regulation on land use, land use change and forestry requires that Member States, at the minimum, fully offset the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030. 

The implementation of the new regulation requires reporting and monitoring, which the EEA will support. The EEA also continues to develop knowledge about the environmental issues associated with land use and forestry and related land management practices, including by using Earth observation data from the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service. Many of the EEA’s assessments, indicators and data on soil, land, ecosystems, agriculture, forestry, green infrastructure and other topics also have strong links to climate change.

A lot remains unknown, but the better we understand the dynamics between soil, land and the climate, the better are our chances of designing and implementing sustainable solutions.


Soil is defined as the top layer of the earth’s crust. It is formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms.

Soil is defined as the top layer of the earth’s crust. It is formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms. It is in fact an extremely complex, variable and living medium. As soil formation is an extremely slow process, soil can be considered essentially as a non-renewable resource. The interface between the earth, the air and the water soil performs many vital functions: food and other biomass production, storage, filtration and transformation of many substances including water, carbon, nitrogen. Soil has a role as a habitat and gene pool, serves as a platform for human activities, landscape and heritage and acts as a provider of raw materials. It contains around twice the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and three times the amount to be found in vegetation. These functions are worthy of protection because of their socio-economic as well as environmental importance.

Soil is, however, increasingly degrading, both in the EU and at global level. Erosion, loss of organic matter, compaction, salinisation, landslides, contamination, sealing… have negative impacts on human health, natural ecosystems and climate, as well as on our economy. Soil degradation has not only transboundary effects, it also comes with high costs. Problems linked to soil degradation need to be dealt with beyond the areas that are degraded. In addition, the reduction in environmental services as a result of a loss of national soil capital must be compensated by increased pressures on remaining soils or on the soils of other territories.

At the moment, only a few EU Member States have specific legislation on soil protection. Soil is not subject to a comprehensive and coherent set of rules in the Union. Existing EU policies in areas such as agriculture, water, waste, chemicals, and prevention of industrial pollution do indirectly contribute to the protection of soils. But as these policies have other aims and scope of action, they are not sufficient to ensure an adequate level of protection for all soils in Europe.

The continued unsustainable use of soils is compromising the Union’s domestic and international biodiversity and climate change objectives. For all these reasons, the Commission adopted a Soil Thematic Strategy (COM(2006) 231) on 22 September 2006 with the objective to protect soils across the EU. While the Commission in May 2014 decided to withdraw the proposal for a Soil Framework Directive, the Seventh Environment Action Programme, which entered into force on 17 January 2014, recognises that soil degradation is a serious challenge. It provides that by 2020 land is managed sustainably in the Union, soil is adequately protected and the remediation of contaminated sites is well underway and commits the EU and its Member States to increasing efforts to reduce soil erosion and increase soil organic matter and to remediate contaminated sites.


A report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

A report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

A report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) with focus on land-use, climate change and food security says that food production must change.
The wide-ranging report finds that the intensification of farming has fuelled a decline in the condition of the world’s land, deforestation and biodiversity loss. The report calls on governments to urgently prioritise green farming practices and implement systems like agroforestry.
Good soil management captures carbon from the atmosphere and helps to reduce the impact of flooding and droughts. Climate change is expected to lower crop yields and raise food prices
About a quarter of the Earth’s ice-free land area is subject to human-induced degradation. Soil erosion from agricultural fields is estimated to be currently 10 to 20 times (no tillage) to more than 100 times (conventional tillage) higher than the soil formation rate. Climate change exacerbates land degradation, particularly in low-lying coastal areas, river deltas, dry lands and in permafrost areas.
The report also provides recommendations to address these issues.
The full version of the report is available at:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations that is dedicated to providing the world with objective, scientific information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of the risk of human-induced climate change, its natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Membership is open to all members of the WMO and UN. The IPCC produces reports that contribute to the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the main international treaty on climate change. The objective of the UNFCCC is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system”. IPCC reports cover the “scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

This web-site is co-funded by EU trough the INTERREG – IPA CBC Programme CCI 2014TC16I5CB006

In July 2019, started the implementation of project “Identification and Monitoring of Contaminated Soils using Innovative Methodology”

In July 2019, started the implementation of project “Identification and Monitoring of Contaminated Soils using Innovative Methodology”

In July 2019, has started the implementation of project “Identification and Monitoring of Contaminated Soils using Innovative Methodology” acronym “MCSoil”. The project is a joint inititative of the RES Cluster and association Center for Medical Herbs and Berries “AMBROZIJA” – Republic of North Macedonia and is being implemented under the IPA CBC Programme between Republic of Bulgaria and Republic of North Macedonia 2014-2020 (CCI No 2014TC16I5CB006).

The project duration is 15 months /July 2019 – October 2020/. Three are the main target groups which MCSoil project seeks to reach: research organizations dealing with environmental protection, national and regional/local authorities responsible for soil monitoring and protection, and the general public.

The project is aimed at assessing the specific needs of the region about the mapping of existing and potential soil contamination and at increasing of the awareness about the state of the soil resources in the partner countries, and impact on improving of the resource management efficiency with regard to soils”. The specific objective of the project is the implementation of environmental screening and monitoring of soils using innovative methodology as a pilot tool.

The main result of the MCSoil project will be an assessment of the specific needs of the region about the mapping of existing and potential soil contamination. This will contribute to greater awareness about the state of the soil resources in the partner countries and for an improved resource management efficiency with regard to soils.


This web-site is co-funded by EU trough the INTERREG – IPA CBC  Programme CCI 2014TC16I5CB006