Caring for Soils - Where Our Roots Grow.

Alpine Soil Forum

The Final Conference of Links4Soils took place on 14th-16th October 2019 in Innsbruck where the major results of Links4Soils were presented and discussed.

The event highlighted the spirit of the project by showing practical solutions to sustainable soil management and linking experts, decision-makers, multipliers and soil enthusiasts in the Alps.

Excursion: Where Our Roots Grow – Soil management on site

The Alpine Soil Forum opened with an excursion to the immediate surrounding of Innsbruck.

The excursion opened up discussions on four different soil profiles, land uses and their typical management and soil protection challenges. Discussion stops: peat bog area, settlement development, golf course, forest, agricultural land, ski slope.

The excursion guide shows in detail the lab analyses and descriptions of the soil profiles.

© Klimabündnis Tirol/Lechner

2nd Day: Links4Soils Conference

The aim of the Alpine Soil Forum...

  • Get inspired by Links4Soils project results.
  • Use the possibility to get to know sustainable soil management practices.
  • Meet soil scientists, decision-makers and other soil enthusiasts and link your ideas.

The Alpine Soil Forum offers a place to link knowledge with practice, experts with decision-makers, local challenges with Alpine and European strategies and scientific foundations with solutions for the future.

In the spirit of the established Alpine Soil Partnership the diversity of soils, soil functions, soil management practices and soil stakeholders will be shown.

The Alpine Soil Forum is a joint event of Links4Soils, the Austrian Soil Science Society (ÖBG), the Austrian Soil Forum and the regionally founded project “Climate change adaptation in municipalities”.

Posters, soil profiles, soil messages, videos, laptops, material, calendars

© Klimabündnis Tirol/Lechner

Impressions of the Alpine Soil Forum

© Klimabündnis Tirol/Lechner

Underneath Our Feet There is Life

Elena Havlicek (BAFU Switzerland and European Soil Partnership) forged a bridge from the essence of living soils to the challenge of effective sustainable soil management which includes local and scientific knowledge, awareness raising, agendasetting, decision-making and implementation. Each step facing specific actors, each step needing a particular language.

© Klimabündnis Tirol

Soil News of the Alpine Convention

The Alpine Convention - the only legally binding Alpine agreement - is one of the major starting points of the Links4Soils project. Wolfger Mayrhofer gave insights to recent developments including the programme of the newly founded working group on soil protection of the Alpine Convention and its synergies with the Alpine Soil Partnership.

© Klimabündnis Tirol

Soil Partnerships

Working together and exchanging on sustainable soil management has been the successful approach of the Soil Forum Austria for 19 years. Bi-annual meetings on focused topics encourage and inspire people working on and with soils. The Alpine Soil Forum is a cooperative event of Links4Soils and the Soil Forum Austria widening the geographic range from Austria to the Alpine region.

© Klimabündnis Tirol

Starting in 2017 on the International Day of Soils 5th December the Slovenian Soil Partnership started to combine actions for sustainable soil management on national level, taking the networks of neighbouring countries like Austria and other levels (Alpine and European Soil Partnership) as positive examples.

One of the core outputs of Links4Soils is the founding and implementation of the Alpine Soil Partnership, an informal network focusing on common challenges of sustainable soil management in the Alpine region. With nearly 100 members it can be seen as success story that will continue after the ending of the Links4Soils project.

© Klimabündnis Tirol


Spotlight on Soil Approaches in the Alpine space

Nine project partners of Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia worked for sustainable soil management in the Links4Soils project. These slides give an insight to the richness of approaches, activities and project results.

© Klimabündnis Tirol/Lechner

Steps towards sustainable soil management - Panel discussion

The panel opened up the afternoon session of the conference day. The Tyrolean Bishop Hermann Glettler, the new Secretary General of the Alpine Convention Alenka Smerkolj, the head of spatial planning in the Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta  Chantal Trèves and the Links4Soils project leader Borut Vrščaj shared their perspectives on sustainable soil management in a very personal way.

  • How can religion, politics, science and administration contribute to soil protection?
  • How do people get into positions where they  have the power to change?
  • What does courage and engagement mean?
  • What do we need for sustainable soil management?


© Klimabündnis Tirol/Lechner

Soil café breakout session

In the afternoon different working groups discussed interactively main Links4Soils topics:

  • Soil information for decision-makers
  • Soil Partnerships
  • Landscape management & soil solutions
  • From roots to branches. How to care for our forest from a tree's perspefctive
  • Coping with natural hazards in the Alps


How does this work? In order to make dialogues work certain soil etiquette needs to be followed:
Share your perspectives and connect ideas. Listen & talk with heart & brain. Focus on what is important.

For German speaking persons the lecture of Erich Tasser gave an inspiring view to statistics of landscape development in Tyrol, in the Alps in the last century - soil being the basis of land uses and landscapes. The session raised hereafter the question of what future landscape could look like.

© Klimabündnis Tirol/Lechner

Orga details

The Alpine Soil Forum is a transnational event showing and discussing the results of Links4Soils and opening the exchange on sustainable soil management in the Alpine area. The event consists of an excursion showing the influence of land use management practices on soils and an indoor conference day including a poster exhibition and a marketplace of ideas followed by an informal exchange round on soil-relevant goings-on (in German).

When: 14th-16th October 2019

Where: Innsbruck (Landhaus 1 - Großer Saal, Eduard-Wallnöfer-Platz 3)

Language: English & German & Italian

Please find the agenda below.

Please contact for any questions!