The European objective for 2050 is to achieve a healthy and more resilient soil. To support this objective, on Friday 7th of July, the European Commission published a Proposal for a Directive on Soil Monitoring and Resilience (Soil Monitoring Law) [1].

This text aims to ensure that the intermediate objectives for 2030 are respected. These targets are: a 50% reduction in nutrient losses [2], a 50% reduction in the use and risks associated with chemical pesticides and a 50% reduction in the use of potent pesticides [2].

The European objective for soils is more simply stated in another Commission report: to achieve neutrality of soil degradation by 2030 [3].


What proposes the text

This Proposal spotlights soils for the first time, as soils are not subjected to a proper regulation in EU. A Directive is more flexible than a Law, as it sets objectives to be pursued but gives Member States the possibility to identify the best measures for them and to adapt the approach to local conditions.

The Directive suggest important points in matter of soil protection and in order to recover healthy soils in EU. Soils will be divided into districts in accordance with criteria sets in the document. These criteria are mainly based on the land use and help for land take management. Member States shall establish a land take monitoring framework based on the soil. Finally, if accepted, this Proposal will set thresholds characterizing healthy soils and propose indicators that will be assessed by European authorities and Member States.


Who can be impacted

This directive could impact first EU Member States, as it applies to all soils in their territory. The Member States are free regarding the implementation of measures to meet the EU objectives.

The initiative is expected to affect also several business sectors, namely, agriculture, forestry and related extension services, business activities that have contaminated the soil, business activities related to remediation of contaminated sites, research and laboratories.


The place of Biodiversity in the soil characteristics

This proposal set once for all definitions regarding soils. Soil is here defined not only by its physical and chemical conditions, but also by its biological conditions. As well, A Soil descriptor is depicted as a parameter that describe a physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of the soil. Until now, the soil was mainly considered as a medium consisting in physical and chemical conditions.

The directive goes even further and consider micro-organisms as part of the ecosystem, as much as plant and animals are.

Finally, the text recognizes the existence of several soil types and is aware of the necessity to preserve this soil diversity.

The acknowledgement of biological and microbiological conditions as a building block of soils is a huge step forward that follows the evolution of scientific knowledge. It is reasonable to say that this proposal is a strong asset for soil health monitoring, as well as it is reducing the gap that has for long existed between legislation and scientific knowledge.


Our commitment to the soil microbiodiversity

Since its creation, GenoScreen has been committed to soil analysis and soil conservation. For years we have been promoting the importance of genomics and metagenomics analysis to fully access the soil characteristics, and to help assessing its health. That is why GenoScreen is satisfied to see that the directive proposes several descriptors to Loss of soil biodiversity as metabarcoding of bacteria, fungi, protists and animals; abundance and diversity of nematodes and microbial biomass.

Soil biodiversity is one of the key that will help us tackle with unhealthy soils issues.




This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Discover our services in soils


[1] Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Soil Monitoring and Resilience (Soil Monitoring Law). European Commission, 2023.

[2] Farm to Fork Strategy, For a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. European Commission, 2020.

[3] Communication from the commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the regions, EU Soil Strategy for 2030 Reaping the benefits of healthy soils for people, food, nature and climate. Edition Commission Staff Working Document. European Commission, 17.11.2021.

By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of statistics cookies