About the Swedish European soil science for agricultural productivity and climate proofing

Last changed: 02 September 2022
Hay bales on a field under blue sky, photo.

The aim of the Swedish European soil science for agricultural productivity and climate proofing is to increase our understanding of how agricultural soil management can remedy soil degradation. We also investigate how soil health and the delivery of ecosystem and societal benefits can be improved. A special emphasis is put on management of soil carbon, water and nutrients.

Sustainability, climate resilience and food security are key challenges currently facing humanity.  Agriculture is key direct income source for 500 million farmers globally, and provides essential nutrition, feed and biomass for the global population. It also provides essential services and incomes for people, nature and climate.

A sector with many challenges

Despite these desired and positive benefits, it is a sector with multiple challenges in terms of sustainability, affecting various ecosystem services, land and water resources and contributes towards pollution loads of GHG and biodiversity loss. In this context, soil resources and management plays a critical role to achieve food security whilst enhancing sustainability and resilience.

There is an urgent need to develop knowledge to make soil management respond to these challenges, and to step up the adoption of practices making soils sustainable and climate resilient for today and for future generations.

Good soil health is imperative for a sustainable agricultural production

The reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy acknowledges this challenge and promotes a policy of sustainable intensification of agricultural land. In line with this international trend, the Swedish government launched the first Swedish strategy of national food security (Svensk livsmedelsstrategi, prop 2016/2017 104) in June 2017. 

Good soil health, i.e. the capacity of soil to sustain a range of critical ecosystem services such as biomass production, carbon storage, soil fertility, water retention and soil biodiversity is imperative for a sustainable agricultural production.

Focus areas

The focus areas in the initiative are:

  • Climate change and carbon sequestration
  • Nutrient management
  • Soil organisms
  • Soil physics
  • Water management
  • Environmental monitoring and assessment
  • Engaging with partners

Read about the focus areas in the initiative.


SLU has advance laboratory facilities, four field stations and several long-term field experiments situated in different agro ecological zones with different climate and soils. In addition, SLU has a long-standing experience in PhD training organised in the form of research schools. One of these schools is “Focus on soils and water”.

Read more about our infrastructure here.


Anke.Herrmann@slu.se, 018-671561