Firm focus on fitting HoliSoils results for end users

Two years into the project, HoliSoils consortium partners gathered in Barcelona’s beautiful Sant Pau Art Nouveau site for the project’s annual meeting and general assembly.

The focus was on the many upcoming data and results generated by the project and how best these can be developed and made available for those who are likely to use them.  Some early findings are already included in a first HoliSoils policy brief, fine-tuned during the meeting and published subsequently by the European Forest Institute (EFI). The brief shows how targeted management can improve soils’ potential to mitigate climate change.

HoliSoils – Holistic management practices, modelling & monitoring for European Forest Soils – a Horizon 2020 project coordinated by Luke (Finland), is developing a large toolkit of data, models, maps and guidelines. Some of these are crucial updates of already existing tools, while others are yet to be developed. All are available, however, in one click from the project website, which provides direct access to all the new information as soon as it is ready.

The importance of adapting such materials for likely end-users is a crucial element of the project, and was a major focus of this meeting, with the HoliSoils Stakeholder and End-user Advisory Board (SEAB) invited as special guests to the three-day gathering. HoliSoils enjoys the benefit of a very active and engaged SEAB with representatives from 10 organisations joining the meeting, of the 13 current board members. Representatives from FAO, FSC, EUSTAFOR, CPF, ForExt, UPM and EEA attended in person, while JRC, CEPF, Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council engaged in the online sessions.

Partners took advantage of the great opportunity to discuss elements of the project with the SEAB, not least in an informative, dedicated session, HoliSoils results for those who will use them. SEAB members were overwhelmingly positive in their comments about the project, in particular about its holistic approach to ensure that forest soils are considered in forest management and by policy makers as part of a whole forest approach to climate change mitigation.

Over 40 project partners from across Europe attended the meeting, which was hosted by EFI, with representatives of the project’s Uruguayan and Japanese partners making a special effort to travel. As well as updates from the work packages and presentations from the project’s many post-doctoral researchers, the meeting focussed on the maps, models, tools and data being generated by the project, and partners enjoyed a science-communications training session.

The field trip on the third day visited one of the HoliSoils test sites, the Llobera study site, which is a demonstrative forest management stand for integrated fire management. Different management options are being tested to reduce fuel load and break vertical fuel continuity to make these forests resistant to wildfires. At the same site, HoliSoils experiments monitoring soil respiration and non-trenched soils will give insights into the effects of different forest treatments on organic carbon.

A second stop in the field was to the Santa Coloma de Queralt wildfire site, an area which was badly burnt in 2021. The discussion centred on wildfire effects on soils and post-fire management activities for soil protection and forest regeneration. The field trip was organised by CTFC and the University of Barcelona in collaboration with University of Lleida and Diputació de Barcelona.

Browse all the photos from the meeting!