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22 April 2022

The Department of Education has announced measures for the education system to face the climate and ecological crisis. A new GCSE in natural history will focus on protecting ecosystems, including soils and the skills such as field-work needed to help nature. All education buildings and land are to be approached as a National Education Nature Park improving biodiversity on school land and increasing access to nature for young people.

A pilot project seeks to support local communities connect with small family farms to secure their long-term survival and improvements in ecosystems. The New Models for Family Farm Succession is led by Stir to Action and Shared Assets. It will support family farms, through training and funds, that do not have succession plans to work with local communities to develop business plans for community ownership and food growing.

A report on the Politics of Protein noted that environmental claims around different types of protein including plant-based protein and regenerative livestock meat, ignore issues around their impact on soil health and leave out issues on access and justice surrounding meat. It has concluded the need to focus on a transition towards sustainable food systems rather than a protein transition.

In a new episode of the podcast, Farmerama, ecologist and soil advisor Nicole Masters has discussed the importance of digging a hole to assess soils. Masters also discusses regenerative indicators and the role of different tools in monitoring soils.

The edges of temperate forests have been found by a new study to increase forest growth and biomass. Through including the impacts of forest edges next to agriculture, the study saw increased forest productivity by 23%, with trees and soil experiencing substantial growth in productivity. This study encourages a reassessment of current conservation practices that focus on fully intact rather than fragmented forests.

A study of soil pores and carbon sequestration finds that the size and number of soil pores affects the amount of carbon sequestered by soils. This study opens a new approach to examining carbon in soil, combining the staining of organic compounds with a substance and use x-ray software to look inside soil before and after staining it to see the distribution of carbon.