Impacts of climate change adaptation options on soil functions: A review of European case-studies

Ahmad Hamidov*, Katharina Helming, Gianni Bellocchi, Waldemar Bojar, Tommy Dalgaard, Bhim Bahadur Ghaley, Christian Hoffmann, Ian Holman, Annelie Holzkämper, Dominika Krzeminska, Sigrun H. Kvaernø, Heikki Lehtonen, Georg Niedrist, Lillian Øygarden, Pytrik Reidsma, Pier Paolo Roggero, Teodor Rusu, Cristina Santos, Giovanna Seddaiu, Eva SkarbøvikDomenico Ventrella, Jacek Żarski, Martin Schönhart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Soils are vital for supporting food security and other ecosystem services. Climate change can affect soil functions both directly and indirectly. Direct effects include temperature, precipitation, and moisture regime changes. Indirect effects include those that are induced by adaptations such as irrigation, crop rotation changes, and tillage practices. Although extensive knowledge is available on the direct effects, an understanding of the indirect effects of agricultural adaptation options is less complete. A review of 20 agricultural adaptation case‐studies across Europe was conducted to assess implications to soil threats and soil functions and the link to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The major findings are as follows: (a) adaptation options reflect local conditions; (b) reduced soil erosion threats and increased soil organic carbon are expected, although compaction may increase in some areas; (c) most adaptation options are anticipated to improve the soil functions of food and biomass production, soil organic carbon storage, and storing, filtering, transforming, and recycling capacities, whereas possible implications for soil biodiversity are largely unknown; and (d) the linkage between soil functions and the SDGs implies improvements to SDG 2 (achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture) and SDG 13 (taking action on climate change), whereas the relationship to SDG 15 (using terrestrial ecosystems sustainably) is largely unknown. The conclusion is drawn that agricultural adaptation options, even when focused on increasing yields, have the potential to outweigh the negative direct effects of climate change on soil degradation in many European regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2378-2389
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number8
Early online date12 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • agricultural adaptation
  • regional case-studies
  • soil degradation
  • Sustainable Development Goals


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