The School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University is pleased to announce launch of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) in Wageningen, The Netherlands. This initiative, now open to all interested in sustaining soils, was formed based on growing international concern by scientists, policy makers and the public over the status of the world’s soils and increased recognition that the life in soil is key to sustaining our food production, ecosystem maintenance and control of global atmosphere and climate warming. The GSBI will serve as a primary means of informing the newly announced Global Soil Partnership signed in Rome earlier in September by three international conventions.
The GSBI, announced in this month during the conference on Soil Science in a Changing World in Wageningen, The Netherlands, is a collaborative initiative brought forth by representatives from each of five institutions: Professor Diana Wall, Colorado State University, USA, Professor Wim van der Putten, Netherlands Institute of Ecology/Wageningen Centre for Soil Ecology, Professor Richard Bardgett, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, UK, Professor Johan Six, University of California, Davis and Dr. Luca Montanarella, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy. These individuals will lead the further initiation of GSBI and be responsible for the development of an active platform for promoting the translation of expert knowledge on soil biodiversity into environmental policy to assure management and enhancement of ecosystem services such as water quality, food production, soil fertility, and biocontrol of
human and animal diseases.
The GSBI will contribute biodiversity knowledge to the Global Soil Partnership signed in Rome, Italy, in early September that brings together 3 international agreements interested in sustaining soils: the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention on Desertification, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and will be operated by the Food and Agriculture Organization. The Global Soil Partners recognize that soils and their biodiversity are rapidly being degraded as a result is poor-management of soils, while acknowledging that proper soil management can, for example, increase soil carbon storage, thereby affecting global carbon cycling, and stabilize soils, thereby decreasing erosion, and promote other ecosystem services provided by soils and soil biodiversity, such as control of pests, pathogens and invasive species. The GSBI will encourage and bring together
interested people, including scientists and policy makers from many scientific, government and non-governmental organizations, to formulate plans, synthesize data and collectively address loss and maintenance of biodiversity in the subsurface.