Soils provide several ecosystem services such as food production, carbon storage and water filtration. However, soil degradation threatens the delivery of soil ecosystem services worldwide. Soil health implies that the physical, chemical and biological components of the soil are functioning optimally. However, to measure and improve soil health, a system for monitoring is needed where climate, type of land use and the soil is considered. The overall aim is to increase knowledge of soil health assessment in Norway. Moreover, to determine optimal soil health in different pedo-climatic zones and to assess the effect of cropping systems on soil health.
A project description has been submitted and approved by Wageningen University & Research. In addition, a plan for completing the PhD with 30 EC has been prepared and approved currently one course (Sense A1 course) has been passed. Soil samples were taken from farmer fields in the autumn of 2021. The sampling campaign was an important task for testing soil health indicators. A bachelor student from Wageningen assisted in the work, for which I was also a supervisor afterwards. Soil samples are currently being analysed for selected soil health indicators.
In autumn 2022, soil samples were taken to compare different cropping systems in southeast Norway and in mid-Norway. The analyses are carried out in collaboration with a master's degree student from the Netherlands, whom I also am supervising. The objective of this task is to give answers towards which cropping practices can increase soil health, and lays the foundation for later articles. The first article, based on an analysis of a soil database, will be submitted to a journal (Soil use and management) by the end of 2022. The work included in the article has been presented at international conferences: Soil and water conservation under changing climate in Northern and altitude conditions held in 4 – 6 May 2022 at Ås and the Nordic Association of Agricultural Sciences in Iceland 27-29 September 2022. The topic has also been presented at Norwegian seminars (e.g. Soil day 5. December 2022 held by NIBIO) and in a podcast (Naturviterne).