Professor Håkan Wallander presenting at the Summer of Soil

Prof. Wallander at a field site in Ecudaor

This month the Summer of Soil presents the Living Soil Forum, a 5-day program designed to activate and empower people to secure a better future for our soils. From July 22-26 participants can attend presentations from international experts on issues of soil sustainability, film, discussion groups, and experience field work opportunities, all to better connect people and ideas around solutions that work to secure and restore healthy, living soils.

Professor Håkan Wallander, of Lund University, and representing the GSBI, will be presenting July 25thA closer look at soil: Re-examining soil and its importance for biodiversity, food security, climate stability and healthy living systems. Dr. Wallander is a professor in soil biology and environmental sciences, working with ectomycorrhizal fungi that form symbiotic relationships with trees. They produce several hundreds of kilograms of mycelia per hectare every year in most forest ecosystems. This is important for nutrient uptake of the trees, but also for carbon sequestration and N retention in the soil. His main research interest is to understand how this flux of belowground carbon is regulated, and how important the composition of the ectomycorrhizal community is for carbon sequestration and nutrient uptake. Find out more about Dr. Wallander’s research at his university website:



Dr. Wallander has recently released a book “Soil: Reflections on the foundation of our existence.”






For more information and the full program visit:



living soil forum

I was representing the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GBSI) during the Summer of Soil event in Järna in Sweden 2013, and attended the living Soil Forum which took place between 22 and 22 of July.  During this week a number of short (TED-talks) were given by invited speakers (I was one of them) in the mornings, and the participants worked with developing projects and ideas related to soil quality and soil biodiversity in the afternoons. My aim was to introduce important research on soil biology and soil formation in a popular way, accessible to people outside the academia.  The event was absolutely fantastic, and very well organized. I was thrilled to meet so many enthusiastic people that cared about the quality of our soils and the organisms living there. For some reasons it had been difficult to get scientists to the meeting, while a mixture of teachers, farmers, entrepreneurs etc. were well represented. I think we as scientists should spend more time popularizing our work and make it accessible to ordinary people. I was inspired by many of the people I met at the meeting. For instance, one woman grew food and feed in a 2000 square meter garden and her idea was to live on what she could produce in this area, which is the share each person have on the globe if equally divided. Based on the fodder she produced she had calculated she could eat meet once a week. School classes come regular for visits and I can just image the discussions coming out from these visits. I asked her to what extent she used her own urine to close the nutrient cycle, and we had a long discussion about this. During the week I spread flyers about the activities going on in GSBI and I also distributed my popular scientific book about soil (Jord – funderingar kring grunden för vår tillvaro, in Swedish) to those that were interested.  I can assure you that there is a lot of interest of what we are doing.

Håkan Wallander

Professor in Soil Biology, Lund University, Sweden