Global Soil Partnership

Special Issues from the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon 2017 on Global Change Biology and Soil scientific journals

Global Change Biology and Soil have just published scientific articles on Soil Organic Carbon that contribute to understanding the soil system and its interaction with humans and the entire Earth system.


FAO, the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its Science-Policy Interface and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), jointly organized a Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC17) on 21 – 23 March 2017. The Symposium succeeded in reviewing the role of soils and Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) in the context of climate change, sustainable development and land degradation neutrality. Relevant Panelists, scientists and practitioners working in related fields from across the world considered this high-level meeting a very fruitful result from a political and technical point of view.

After the careful review by the GSOC17 Scientific Committee we are happy to announce that the article “Soil organic carbon sequestration in a changing climate”, based on the abstracts and contribution of P. A. Finke, P. de Ruiter, V. Alcántara, J. House, and A. Cowie, has just been published on the special issue of the ‘Global Change Biology’, a scientific journal promoting new understanding of the interface between biological systems and all aspects of environmental change that affects the globe.  Another article with the title “Regional perspectives and challenges of soil organic carbon management and monitoring – A Special Issue from the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon 2017” has just been issued this week on “Soil”, an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of high-quality research in the field of soil system sciences.

The Symposium is considered a fundamental first step towards the achievement of:

  1. Linking sustainable soil management to climate change mitigation and adaptation;
  2. Focusing the attention of the scientific community, policy-makers and media on soil organic carbon (SOC) in relation to the efforts in response to climate change, ending hunger and malnutrition, reversing land degradation and achieving overall sustainable development;
  3. The increased inclusion of SOC in regular IPCC reports, starting with SR2, the refinement of the greenhouse gas inventory guidelines, and the 6th Assessment Report, as well as reporting to UNFCCC, UNCCD and the SDGs.

Almost 500 participants from 111 countries engaged actively by presenting the results of studies demonstrating the potential and challenges of managing and monitoring SOC and by discussing and elaborating on key messages. Based on those results, recommendations were developed and were published in the Outcome Document of the Symposium “Unlocking the Potential of Soil Organic Carbon” aiming at supporting the policy processes and actions to encourage the implementation of sustainable soil management practices and strategies that foster the protection and sequestration of SOC. The GSOC17 Outcome Document highlights the role of soils and SOC management in meeting the climate change and sustainable development agendas and makes recommendations for the key next steps by developing a number of recommendations for the way forward. In particular, one of the recommendations is related to the “establishment of a working group to develop feasible and regionally contextualized guidelines for measuring, mapping, monitoring and reporting (MRV) on SOC […] to support management decisions”. The selected 103 oral presentations and 35 poster presentations taht built the core of this event triggering fruitful discussions on the state-of-science in measuring, preserving and enhancing soil organic carbon in different soils of the world were published in the Proceedings of the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon 2017 (GSOC17) .