CLIMAte change adaptation through SOil and crop MAnagement: synthesis and ways forward


CLIMAte change adaptation through SOil and crop MAnagement: synthesis and ways forward (CLIMASOMA)

Scientific studies usually investigate individual soil management practices, which makes it difficult to compare their different effects and keep track of things. Here, the results of over 10,000 observations on soil-management and cropping-system practices and their effect on hydrological soil properties were collected from scientific studies and then analysed. 

Learning from existing knowledge

Many farmers, enterprises and governments are dealing with the impacts of climate change on agriculture. Although soil is clearly important for agricultural production, the role of soil management in climate-change adaptation has received scant attention from policy-makers and farmers. One reason for this is that many studies were conducted under site-specific conditions that have not yet been incorporated into a wider context. The CLIMASOMA project synthesised the results of 36 meta-analyses covering 2803 individual studies from the past 100 years. These included numerous studies investigating the impact of soil and crop-management practices on climate-change adaptation with a specific focus on soil hydrological function.

The key findings


Different strokes for different folks, soils, farms and farmers

Although some practices were clearly shown to be beneficial, the main takeaway remains that farming is very context-specific. No single practice is ideal in every combination of soil, climate and crops, and no single practice can be viewed separately from the wider context of the agroecosystem in which it exists. Regardless of the amount of organic material added to the soil, the effect will be minimal if you proceed to destroy your soil structure by driving over it with heavy machinery while it is wet. We therefore need to avoid generalisations and to continue investigating the implications of these context-specific correlations between farming practices and water-regulating soil functions.



Participating organisations

  • Agroscope
  • SLU
  • ILVO
  • CREA
  • Wageningen