SOILUZIOAK 2023, together with Urban Klima 2050, proposes land management strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate challenges


The round table 'Soil, an ally in mitigating and adapting to climate change' discussed the good practices employed in different environmental projects to manage soil and its contribution to mitigating carbon emissions and adapting cities to climate change.

The necessary alliance between soil protection and climate change brought together representatives from different environmental projects at the round table organised by the LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050 project as part of the SOILUZIOAK 2023 Conference on Soil Protection in the Basque Country.

Under the title 'Soil, an ally in mitigating and adapting to climate change', the session explored the challenges for soil protection in this field, and the strategies and good practices that different projects are carrying out to optimise this non-renewable resource in a context of mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Adolfo Uriarte, director of Natural Heritage and Climate Change of the Basque Government and moderator of the round table, highlighted the Basque Country's track record on climate action and emphasised its commitment to making progress on comprehensive soil protection with the approval of the Basque Country's 2030 Soil Protection Strategy in 2022, a pioneering measure approved with the aim of “achieving net neutral soil degradation by 2050”.

Another initiative where the Basque Country has demonstrated full alignment between climate and soil protection objectives is Urban Klima 2050. It’s head, Malake Muñoz Cachón, presented the actions that the project is carrying out in relation to soil. Specifically, she referred to Punta Zorrotza (Bilbao), where work is being carried out to incorporate climate change and adaptation as a cross-cutting aspect of Bilbao’s Land Use Plan (PGOU), a fact that will have implications as far as regulating and organising land use in this part of Bilbao is concerned, making it a pioneering plan not only in the Basque Country but also in the context of Spain and Europe. She also detailed the recovery of the Tonpoi (Bermeo) area with the design of a peri-urban green infrastructure based on natural materials and with protective areas against the effects of climate change. Another action is planned in the municipality of Bakio, where the River Estepona will be cleaned and rewilded to create an urban marsh and floodable river park. Finally, she explained the recovery of the Errekatxulo waterway in Donostia/San Sebastian to restore its ecological potential.

Next, Rodrigo Antón, professor of soil science and agricultural chemistry at the Public University of Navarre, explained the actions that the LIFE-IP NAdapta-CC project is implementing in the soil to increase resilience to climate change in Navarre. In this sense, Antón stressed that “soil management strategies are essential when it comes to optimising the adaptation of agro-ecosystems to climate change”.

Alicia Villazan, project manager of European innovation projects at Valladolid City Council, explained the challenges posed by protecting soil in urban environments with the actions carried out in the Valladolid Smart City project. In his presentation, he stressed that “urban soil as a substrate is key to implementing nature-based solutions and urban adaptation to climate change”.

The European view was provided by Ion Codescu, Unit Head at the Directorate-General for Environment at the European Commission, who looked at the European Green Deal and said that “Europe is gaining experience on climate change and soils: we have been able to learn about processes of rewilding urban areas, strategies for adapting agriculture to climate change, etc.”.

Next up, Nagore García, professor of biology at the Autonomous University of Madrid and representative of SoilSkin, a citizen science programme to assess the vulnerability of the soil ecosystem to global change, took over. In this sense, García stressed the need to “convince citizens and economic sectors of the importance of soil biodiversity in adapting to climate change through living labs and citizen science programmes”.

Finally, Núria Parpal, director of LIFE eCOadapt50 detailed the objectives of this project led by Barcelona Provincial Council, which is dedicated to co-creating strategic actions for adapting to climate change of territories and local economies. Among its lines of action, she highlighted those implemented for agro-livestock, forestry, tourism, agro-forestry, fisheries and aquaculture.