Soils are an essential, slowly-renewable resource that is the foundation of all terrestrial ecosystems. As such, it is of profound importance for human well-being. Agricultural soils are particularly relevant in this context, as they are the basis of most food production. At the same time, well-functioning soils provide or contribute to the provision of multiple ecosystem services other than food. These include carbon sequestration and storage, water filtration and regulation, biological control (van der Meulen et al. 2018).
Well-functioning soils may thus contribute to the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly goals 2 (end of hunger, food security and sustainable agriculture), 12 (sustainable consumption and production), 13 (climate change mitigation and adaptation) and 15 (sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems). At the same time, the demands on agricultural soils are growing – not only because of growing food demand triggered by growing population and increasing affluence, but also because of other, new demands on agricultural land. Many of those demands are related to the bioeconomy – attempts to substitute bio-based for fossil resources in the production of energy and materials.
In this multifaceted context, effective, efficient and legitimate governance is essential. Accordingly, governance plays an important role in the research framework of Bonares.
On the following sub-pages you may find information about common types of policy instruments and their relevance in current soil governance; existing overviews of soil-relevant policy instruments at the national and EU level; and the role of governance
research within the Bonares research framework.