Dive into the NBSOIL Soil Academy!


You can now register to the NBSOIL Soil Academy, a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that aims to co-create and test a learning pathway for soil advisors. The course is designed for anyone facing soil-related challenges, including soil advisors, researchers, and policy-makers. It emphasises Nature-based solutions (NBS) in sustainable soil management.

The key features of this MOOC are:

  • Dynamic Learning: effectively apply a variety of NBS.
  • Audience: open to all with a stake in soil management.
  • Collaboration: foster connections with professionals.
  • Educator-Friendly: materials adaptable for academic use.
  • Accessible Resources: all resources are available from Day 1, and the course is free.

Find out more and learn how to enroll!

HoliSoils Season’s Greetings 2023!

The dedication and collaboration of all HoliSoils partners contributed to making 2023 a very productive and rewarding year for the project. To celebrate the continued efforts of our partners, the latest HoliSoils festive video takes a brief look back at the highlights of the year, with a “multilingual” twist and wishes the consortium, stakeholders and supporters a happy holiday season!

Enjoy the video!

HoliSoils dashboard on shared soil data

Profile location map from the dashboard which provides an overview of soil data shared by partners in the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 HoliSoils project.

Explore the HoliSoils dashboard which provides an overview of soil data shared by partners in the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 HoliSoils project.

Soil data for ~ 7.2k sites were processed following updated Extract Transform Load (ETL) procedures. This was implemented for the World Soil Information Service (WoSIS) which is a service provided by HoliSoils partner ISRIC – World Soil Information.

Around 3,500 out of 7,200 sites are under forest, as identified using the EU Corine Land Cover dataset (for 2018).

Key soil properties such as pH, organic carbon content, bulk density and soil texture of the shared soil profile data can be viewed and queried using the dashboard. The data can be filtered according to various criteria.

Visualisation of the ETL procedure.
Visualisation of the ETL procedure.
Data points under forest, EU Corine Land Cover dataset (2018).
Data points under forest, EU Corine Land Cover dataset (2018).
The dashboard shows the licenses, i.e., open (33%) or restricted (67%).
The dashboard shows the licenses, i.e., open (33%) or restricted (67%).
Descriptive statistics.
Descriptive statistics are presented for key soil properties.

Explore the dashboard!

How long can trees survive without water?

Tree Roots

A new podcast episode investigates the consequence of water deprivation to trees. Peter Wohlleben, a NY-times bestselling author and forester, interviews Dr. Karin Pritsch, from the Helmholtz Institutes, and Prof. Thorsten Grams, from the Technical University of Munich. The two scientists recount the five-year experiment they perform to study the ability of trees to cope with these extreme drought conditions.

The experts talk in detail about what happens below the ground when no water is given to the soil for five years: in particular, they focus on the quantitative decline of roots and mycorrhizae. Listen to the full episode (in German)


Peter Wohlleben / GEO / Audio Alliance, Das Dürre-Experiment – Dr. Karin Pritsch und Prof. Thorsten Grams, Peter und der Wald – ein GEO-Podcast, SCIENCE, https://art19.com/shows/peter-und-der-wald/episodes/630a82f6-3622-419c-8413-1af8c582ac9e

The Secrets of Soil – an interactive journey in the world beneath our feet

Are you looking for an innovative way to explore soil? Secrets of Soil offers an interactive experience to learn more about soil and climate change.

This interactive journey delves into the hidden world beneath our feet, exploring the many forms of life that inhabit soil and showcasing the role that it can play in tackling climate change. Secret of Soils offers an artistic experience through amazing visuals developed by Henry Driver.

Learn more about the Secrets of Soil!

Join this new European Commission open course on soil biodiversity!


Soils host much of the biodiversity of our planet, but often the life beneath our feet is overlooked. The European Commission is now offering a free online course on soil biodiversity to raise awareness on the importance of these resources and the EU initiatives to protect our soil.

The course Soil, a burst of life: the hidden world beneath our feet is designed to offer an overview of the topic of soil biodiversity to science teachers, high school students and the general public.

What are you waiting for? Enroll now!

Soil experiments for kids

Kids doing science experiments

All kids love playing with mud, right? Well, getting stuck into the soil is a great introduction to some great science experiments.  Read on to find out how you can encourage kids to learn how soil can support all life on the planet.

FAO, within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), has published two booklets to inspire children to play with soil and learn more about this crucial resource. The first booklet contains six hands-on science experiments through which children can explore concepts such as soil sampling, soil erosion, water retention, soil gases, soil texture, and the role of earthworms. The second one aims to give children an insight into soil knowledge, focusing on soil salinity. Two easily replicable experiments encourage children to play and discover why salty soils can be a problem for growing food.

Have a look at the two collections of experiments below:

Discover soil biodiversity listening to the Life in the Soil podcast

Life in the Soil

The podcast Life in the Soil brings you the insights and voices of some of the world’s best soil scientists. The six available episodes explore soil biodiversity, why it matters, and how we can protect it. The podcast was produced by the Rillig Lab (Freie Universität Berlin – Institut für Biologie) in collaboration with podcaster Anja Krieger, and it was funded through the BiodivERsA project Digging Deeper.

The first episode, with the contribution of soil scientist Johannes Lehmann, focuses on the role of soil in hosting biodiversity below the ground: this natural habitat is crucial to support many different ecosystems. In the second episode, insights from Katie FieldToby KiersBala Chaudhary, shed light on the fascinating word of mushrooms and fungi, and their close relations with plants. The third and fourth installments of the podcast explore the many components and organisms that constitute soil and which technological innovations can help us to understand soil better. The many threats posed to soil by human activities are investigated in the fifth episode, while the last conversation focuses on how to ensure a sustainable future for soils ecosystems, from rural areas to cities.

Listen to the full episodes on iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify!


Matthias Rillig and Anja Krieger, Life in the Soil Audio Podcast, Rillig Lab, https://rilliglab.org/podcast/

Review on greenhouse gas reporting in European forest soils

Makowski & Wellbrock poster

In the framework of the HoliSoils project, the Thuenen Institute is working on the soil monitoring framework. In particular, their work focuses on reviewing European GHG reporting in forest soils, developing guidelines for harmonized soil sampling methods for future reporting and providing a server for open-access harmonized European maps of forest soil properties. Furthermore, they developed a survey for GHG experts to gain their suggestions for improvement concerning GHG reporting.

Their work mainly focuses on carbon (C) data from forest soils remaining forest soils and differentiates between mineral and organic soils. On this poster, Vera Makowski and Nicole Wellbrock give an overview of the most important findings of the review process and the resultant actions within HoliSoils.

Read more on the full poster

Listen now to why soil matters for many challenges beyond climate change

The Life Scientific Podcast

In the BBC’s podcast The Life Scientific, Jim Al-Khalili interviews Pete Smith, Professor of Soil and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen, on the underestimation of soil science and how throughout his career he realised that studying soil can be key to deal with a variety of global issues.

The conversation focuses on how soil is vital not only for climate change mitigation, but also for improving biodiversity and tackling many more sustainable development challenges.

Listen to the full conversation and get to know why soil is so crucial for our future.

Pete Smith on why soil matters, The Life Scientific, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0017tgl