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Registration for the event is now open. Below you can find a link to the registration form.
Soil at risk
Soil sustains life on our planet. It provides us with food and clean water. Healthy soil is teeming with diversity: a quarter of the world’s species live underground. The soil is also a large carbon store that mitigates climate change.
Our current way of using land threatens to render the soil unsuitable for cultivation during the next 60 years. We are in danger of losing the foundation of all life.
The Soil at Risk symposium on 25.11.2020 in Helsinki brings together a wide variety of research and practical information on protecting agricultural soil. The symposium invites researchers, farmers, businesses and decision-makers to answer vital questions together: How do we safeguard the soil for future generations? What kind of cultivation practices for soil regeneration are needed?
The symposium is co-organised by the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, the Baltic Sea Action Group and the Forum for Environmental Information.
To register for the symposium, please complete the on-line registration form. The deadline for the registration is 16.11. Reservations will be handled on a “first come – first served” basis. The event is free of charge and open to researchers, students, companies, decision-makers and general public.
PRELIMINARY Seminar program
|8.30||Registration and coffee|
|9.00–11.45||Insights into soil|
|9.05–9.20||Soil at risk: reasons and consequences.
Ronald Vargas, Secretary of the Global Soil Partnership, FAO
|9.20–10.10||I Soil is full of life and offers us many benefits – how to protect it?|
|Keynote: Impacts of human-induced disturbances on soil communities and their functioning
Franciska de Vries, Professor of Earth Surface Science, University of Amsterdam
|Finland’s perspective: Carbon Action – regenerative agriculture enhancing soil health. Saara Kankaanrinta, chair of BSAG and Carbon Action|
|Interview: Franciska de Vries and Saara Kankaanrinta facilitated by symposium host|
|10.30–11.20||II Plant-soil interactions – biodiversity as an aim and a tool|
|Keynote: The impact of global change on soil functions and microbial diversity.
Matthias Rillig, Professor of Plant Ecology, Freie Universität Berlin
|Finland’s perspective: TWINWIN - Using biodiversity as a tool to enhance carbon sequestration in agriculture.
University Researcher, University of Helsinki &
Anna-Liisa Laine, Professor of Ecology, University of Zurich
|11.20–12.10||III Soil mitigating climate change. Experimenting and verifying soil carbon sequestration|
|Keynote: Experimenting and verifying soil carbon sequestration.
Dr. Jean-Francois Soussana, INRAE’s vice-president of international research policy
|Finland’s perspective: Verification system for the carbon sequestration developed in Carbon Action
Jari Liski, Research Professor and Head of Climate System Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute
|Interview: Jean–Francois Soussana and Jari Liski, facilitated by symposium host|
|Soil art by Teemu Lehmusruusu|
|13.30–17.00||Solutions for soil – together with the Scientific Community|
|SESSION 1. Business: Sustainable soil-friendly finance and companies
• Scientific perspective: A just transition to a low-carbon food system - what is the role of businesses?
• Practical perspective: Soil health and sustainability in food business – opportunities and challenges,
• International perspective: Carbon farming and business examples from France, Jean-Francois Soussana, INRAE’s vice-president of international research policy
|SESSION 2. Protecting the soil with decision-making and steering instruments
Chair: Markku Ollikainen, Professor at University of Helsinki
Keynotes & scientific perspectives:
Differerent steering mechanisms protecting soil, Markku Ollikainen
The potential of EU’s agricultural policy to address soil health, Jyrki Niemi, Research Professor, Natural Resources Institute Finland.
Practical perspectives from EU and national level:
• European decision making protecting soil: tools provided by Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy?
• National decision making protecting soil: do the different instruments steer to the same direction? Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
|SESSION 3. Farming healthy soil
Chair: Juuso Joona, farmer and educator, Carbon Action project
Keynote & scientific perspective:
• Practical perspective: Elisa Malin, Carbon farmer, Baltic Sea Action Group
• International perspective: Soil structure as a limiting factor of soil health, Thomas Keller, Professor, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
|15.45||PANEL DISCUSSION: Guiding change together for living soils
Chairs: Minttu Jaakkola, Maj & Tor Nessling Foundation & Laura Höijer, Baltic Sea Action Group
|17.00||Wine and snacks|
|Hidden life in the soil. Presentation and pictures by Jari Haimi
Soil art by artist Teemu Lehmusruusu
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SOIL AT RISK Speakers
Franciska de Vries
Professor of Earth Surface Science at the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on understanding the response of terrestrial ecosystems and their functioning to global change. She is particularly interested in how feedbacks between plants and soil microbes are altered under changing environmental conditions, and how a mechanistic understanding of these feedbacks will allow us to predict and mitigate ecosystem response to climate change.
Mathias C. Rillig
Professor of Ecology at Freie Universität Berlin, and director of the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research. He is interested in soil biodiversity, especially fungi, and the effects of drivers of global change on soils.
Vice-Chair of INRAE for international affairs. He is a member of the Working Group II of IPCC and was the lead author of the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. He is also member of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the initiative “4 per 1000 Soils for Food Security and Climate” and a board member of the ’Soil Health and Food’ mission for Horizon Europe programme (2021-2027)
Secretary of the Global Soil Partnership at FAO. Mr. Vargas has been promoting sustainable soil management in the global agenda since 2010 through the establishment of this partnership. Main driver of International Year of Soils, World Soil Day, Revised World Soil Charter, Status of the World’s Soils Resources Report, Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management, Recarbonization of Global Soils and many others.
Environmental influencer with many tools: she is Chair and Co-Founder of Baltic Sea Action Group, Carbon Action platform and Co-Founder of Soilfood Ltd and Q Power Ltd. She is a board member of Sulapac Ltd. Kankaanrinta also owns the oldest manor of Finland, Qvidja Research Farm, together with her husband. She is a member of global eco-networks related to soil carbon sequestration and ecosystem restauration and human health. Kankaanrinta has been awarded personal Medal of Honour at the Globe Energy Award.
Professor of Ecology at the University Zurich and visiting professor at the University of Helsinki where she directs the Research Centre for Ecological Change. She leads a research program investigating the complex web of interactions that link species to one another in nature, and she has been a strong advocate for how our understanding of biodiversity can be used to develop a sustainable future.
University researcher at University of Helsinki. His research concentrates on investigating the impact of plant-microbial interactions on soil carbon and nutrient cycling and climate impact. Currently he leads research in Maj and Tor Nessling foundation funded TWINWIN project and Strategic Research Council (STN) funded MULTA consortium, and acts actively in Finnish CarbonAction project.
Research Professor and the head of climate system research at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. He studies carbon sequestration and climate impacts of land ecosystems at various scales, using different measuring and modeling methods. He is the developer of soil carbon model Yasso; a standard component of Max Planck Institute Earth System Model and a part of national greenhouse gas inventory systems under the UNFCCC. Jari Liski leads the research in Carbon Action Initiative.
Professional in sustainable development, works as Vice President Brand and corporate responsibility at OP Financial Group. Kati Ihamäki is also vice-chair of The Central Chamber of Commerce's Responsibility Board and member of the UN Global Compact Finland’s Board of Directors. Previously she worked as Director Corporate Sustainability at Finnair.
Senior research scientist at Finnish Environmental Institute. He is a farmer, scientist and educator (Holistic Management CE). He has three academic degrees and over 10 years of practical experience on managing Kilpiä farm which won the WWF most environmentally friendly farm in Finland award in 2018 . He educates other farmers to regenerate their soils.
Jyrki Niemi is a Research Professor at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). He has almost 30 years of experience in the analysis of agricultural policies and food markets in Finland and the EU. His research subjects include international trade policies as well as EU and domestic agricultural policies. Empirical analysis of the agri-food supply chains in Finland has played a central role in his research. He has also vast experience in research-based policy advice.
Michaela Ramm-Schimdt is the Managing Director of the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG). She has 20 years of experience from a variety of industries and organizations. Michaela is passionate about responsible business and sustainability has for a long time been an integral part of her work. As Managing Director Michaela is in charge of the operational activities of BSAG, alongside Content Director Laura Höijer. Michaela also heads the Foundation’s activities related to corporate relations and fundraising. Michaela is a lawyer by training, and holds an Aalto Executive Education Diploma in Responsible Business and is currently finishing her Executive MBA from Henley Business School.
Dr. Adj. Prof. Minna Kaljonen works as a Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Environment Institute. She has studied governance of sustainable food systems over 20 years and published widely on environmental governance and food system transitions. In her research she has developed experimentative and deliberative methods, that can assist in finding solutions to sustainability problems together with societal actors. She currently leads a transdisciplinary research project on Just transition (www.justfood.fi/en), which investigates ways to tackle injusticies on our way to more sustainable and healthy food systems.
Senior Vice President in Valio Ltd, responsible of the Carbon-neutral Milk Chain -program in Valio. Formerly SVP for Primary production and Milk procurement in Valio Ltd. A long working experience (35 years) within European dairy business. Specialized in the primary milk production including crop production, silage making, silage analytics, nutritional management of dairy cows on silage-based diets, milk composition and milk hygiene. The new area of expertise is modelling and system- and meta-analysis in milk production and environmental effects of milk production. A broad publication activity, both scientific and practical, covering the whole milk chain.
Since February 2012, Dr. Jaana Husu-Kallio has been the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland. Since 2016 she has been a chair of the management board of European Food Safety Authority, a member since 2012. Previously her roles included Director-General of the Finnish Food Safety Authority (from 2006) and Deputy-Director General of DG Health and Consumer Protection of the European Commission (from 2002). Before she joined the European Commission she worked in the Ministry as a Chief Veterinary Officer.
Ville Niinistö is a Member of the European Parliament. He is the Greens/EFA groups coordinator in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and member of the Committee on Environment.
Niinistö served as Finland’s Minister of the Environment from 2011 to 2014. Niinistö is a former member of the Finnish parliament, former party leader of the Green Party of Finland and a current member of the city council of Turku.
Juuso Joona is a carbon farmer, educator and co-founder of the Carbon Action project. He is developing regenerative farming methods and making mistakes on behalf of the other farmers in his regenerative family farm in South East Finland and educating farmers. Juuso is also making research of soil carbon sequestration and soil improvement methods as a doctoral student in University of Helsinki and R&D agronomist in Soilfood Ltd. Juuso sees carbon sequestration into the soil as a key to mitigate climate change and improve the regenerativity of the farming.
Eliisa Malin is a farmer in South Finland and works also as an designer in Baltic Sea Action Group. She is an agronomist, who tests carbon farming methods on her home farm and works to improve farmers, consumers and decision makers knowledge about regenerative farming. Vierelä organic farm is one of the hundred Carbon Action farms in Finland.
Thomas Keller is a professor of soil mechanics and soil management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). His research focuses on interactions and feedbacks between soil biological processes and soil structure, on soil management impacts on soil health and crop productivity, and on effects of soil compaction on soil functions as well as prevention of soil compaction
Laura Höijer is Content Director at Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG). During her twenty-plus years in the environmental field she has worked as a researcher, research funder, in business and in administration. As Content Director Laura is responsible for BSAG’s current and future initiatives and projects. She also leads the foundation in co-operation with Managing Director Michaela Ramm-Schmidt. Laura holds a PhD in soil microbiology and is a docent in microbial ecology. Currently, BSAG is “loaning” Laura as she is on temporary leave from her position as Research Director at the Ministry of the Environment.
Minttu Jaakkola is working as the Research Director at the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation. She is responsible for putting the Foundation’s mandate, to support solution oriented environmental research and the use of environmental knowledge in the society, into action. Minttu’s background is in Biology with a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Helsinki. Previously she’s been working in science administration and coordination as well as developing and teaching multidisciplinary sustainability and responsible business studies at the University of Turku. Minttu is motivated by building bridges across people, disciplines and sectors to create collaborative knowledge that will change the world.
Senior lecturer in biology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He has studied biological phenomena in northern forest soils for more than 30 years. Especially, he is interested in earthworms and their role in decomposition processes and nutrient cycling as well as in the effects of human impact on soil biodiversity and soil health.
The symposium will be held at the conference center Finlandia Hall, which is close to the Scandic Park Helsinki Hotel. The hotel and venue for the symposium is easy to reach via tram or bus.
Thirty rooms have been reserved at a special price for guests of the symposium from Scandic Park Helsinki. Standard Single person rooms can be booked for 143€/night. Standard rooms for two people cost 163€/night. Both prices require bookings to take place before the 10th of November 2020.
The Soil at risk symposium will take place at Finlandia Hall, Mannerheimintie 13e, 00100 Helsinki
For more information on the program, speakers or practicalities, contact the symposium coordinators.
+358 40169 6325