Salt-affected lands, characterised by increased salt concentrations in the soil and water, are a major hindrance to agricultural productivity and environmental health. Such areas pose a substantial obstacle to sustainable food production, as they sometimes require resource-intensive mitigation efforts. Recognising the urgency of this issue, IVM is set to spearhead a collaborative network of experts from across Europe and beyond to find sustainable solutions.
The COST Action, titled SUSTAIN, aims to bring together researchers, policy makers, and the private sector to develop innovative strategies for land management, crop cultivation, and environmental preservation in salt-affected regions. The network will foster interdisciplinary collaboration to tackle the multifaceted challenges posed by saline environments.
Kate Negacz, the network’s chair, and assistant professor in food governance at IVM, is enthusiastic about the endeavour. 'Salt-affected lands represent a global issue with far-reaching implications for agriculture, food security, and the environment. Through the SUSTAIN network, we have a unique opportunity to pool our collective knowledge and drive impactful change.'
Bridging the gap between research and practice
The COST grant will provide funding for various activities within the network, including workshops, training schools, conference presentations and short-term scientific missions. These initiatives will enable experts to share best practices with diverse stakeholders, including smallholder farmers, to address the specific issues associated with salt-affected lands. The broader objective of the SUSTAIN network is to bridge the gap between research and practical solutions, thereby promoting sustainable land management practices that can be implemented on a global scale. It is anticipated that the outcomes and recommendations from this initiative will contribute significantly to mitigating the challenges posed by salt-affected lands and enhancing agricultural sustainability.
The project has already garnered interest from ca. 150 researchers and institutions across Europe and neighbouring countries, and it is expected to be a catalyst for transformative change in how we approach the sustainable use of salt-affected lands. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Negacz or visit the COST website.