Soil and climate

International Conference und Excursion on 14. und 15. September 2023 in Wuppertal (DE)

Soil is the basis for the production of our food and the most important terrestrial carbon storage. It also plays a decisive role in the water balance as a filter, buffer and storage medium. These functions of soil are being increasingly restricted by the expansion of settlement and traffic areas and the dramatic changes due to climate change. Healthy soil and the preservation of soil functions are therefore essential contributions to climate protection and adaptation to climate change.
In Europe and also worldwide, the preservation of soils and soil functions is becoming an increasingly important task and the course must now be set for this at international and national level. The climate function of soils has long been underestimated, and new practical but sustainable options for action are needed. Agriculture must adapt to changing framework conditions and focus more on preserving and improving soil functions. In cities and municipalities, “water-sensitive” urban development with the creation of a blue/green infrastructure, the search for multifunctional areas or the creation of a “sponge city” has become an important objective in future and sustainable urban planning.
The City of Wuppertal is organising the conference in close cooperation with European Land and Soil Alliance and Climate Alliance. The Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection (MUNV) of North Rhine-Westphalia supports the event.

We would like to cordially invite you to exchange and discuss with us and to point out solutions for the problems mentioned.



PROGRAMME (Download) | Thursday, 14th September 2023 | 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.


8.30 a.m. | Registration
9.30 a.m. | Welcome and statements
•      Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind, Lord Mayor of the City of Wuppertal (DE)
•      Frank Meyer, Head of the Urban Greening, Mobility, Environment and Geodata Division of the City of Wuppertal (DE)
•      Christian Steiner, Chairman of the Board, European Land ans Soil Alliance (ELSA), St. Pölten (AT)

10.00 Uhr | Statements

Soil and Climate - An Issue for Northrhine-Westfalia
Oliver Krischer, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (DE)
Climate change and soil worldwide - An overview
Andreas Wolter, Chairman of Climate Alliance and Mayor of the City of Cologne (DE)
EU Soil Health Law and EU Soil Strategy 2030
Ion Codescu, Head of Unit “Land Use and Management”, DG Environment, European Commission (BE)


10.45 a.m. | Questions and discussion. Moderated by tba (DE)
11.00 a.m. | Coffee break
1.30 a.m. | Main topics

Protecting the Climate Functions of Soils - Current Developments in Germany, Padia Lariu, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (DE)
Climate-smart agriculture: myths and facts, Dr. Andrea Beste, Office for Soil Protection and Ecological Agriculture (DE)
Soil and Climate Change in the City - Healthy Urban Trees for climate change adaptation, Stefan Schmidt, Landscape Architect, AK Schwammstadt (AT)

12.30 p.m. | Questions and discussion
1.00 p.m | Lunch
3.00 p.m.  | Workshops

Panel 1: Climate function of soils
Statement 1: The role of rainforests and indigenous peoples | Thomas Brose, Climate Alliance (DE)
Statement 2: The importance of European soils for climate protection and climate change | Dr. Luca Montanarella, Joint Research Centre, European Commission (IT)
Statement 3: The importance of peatlands for climate protection and climate change | Prof. Dr. Hans Joosten, University of Greifswald,Greifswald Moor Centre (DE)


Panel 2: Future of Agriculture in Climate Change
Statement 1: Agricultural water management in Germany | Dr Nataliya Stupak, Thünen Institute, Climate and Soil Unit (DE)
Statement 2: Humus build-up in agriculture - opportunities and limits for carbon farming | Sophie Drexler, Thünen Institute for Agricultural Climate Protection (DE)  
Statement 3: Carbon Farming - The European Perspective | Dr. Andreas Baumgarten, Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, AGES (AT)


Panel 3: Soil and climate change in the city
Statement 1: Practical example Austria |Johannes Selinger, Modellregionsmanagement KLAR! (AT)
Statement 2: The climate function of soils - activities in NRW | Dr. Chris Bamminger, NRW State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (DE)
Statement 3: Soil function maps in times of climate change | Patrick Lederer, City of Wuppertal (DE)


4.00 p.m. | Coffee break
4.30 p.m. | Closing Panel “Soil and Climate”
5.30 p.m. | Break
7.00 p.m. | Dinner together with reading by Sonja Medwedski from her book “The Voice of the Soil” (at own expense, registration required).


Excursion | Friday, 15th September 2023

9 a.m. | Excursion

Meeting point Sparkasse (Am Islandufer 15, Wuppertal), View over the city
Experts present the following topics:
- Urban development, Wuppertal
- Recycling of brownfields and remediation of contaminated sites
- Climate change, sponge city

10 a.m. | Ride on the suspension railway to Oberbarmen
- Renaturation of water bodies and walk to the “Gasometer” (brownfield recycling)

12 p.m. | Visit of “Gasometer” (optional)
1 p.m. | Lunch at the “Gasometer” (at own expense)
2 p.m. | Members’ meeting European Land and Soil Alliance (ELSA)


Conference Language


Conference Office

Uta Mählmann
c/o Stadt Osnabrück
Postfach 4460 | D-49034 Osnabrück
Telefon +49 (0)541 - 323 7025

Registration (online)