Devon and Cornwall Soils Alliance

Third Sector • West Devon

The DCSA is addressing the perilous state of our soils by building capacity and capability in soils advice across Devon and Cornwall.

  • Soils Alliance surveying the area.
  • Soils Alliance surveying the area.

Our story

The Devon and Cornwall Soils Alliance (DCSA) launched on 3 June, 2019. The aim of the alliance is to build capacity and capability in soils advice across Devon and Cornwall.

Our soils are in a perilous state with more than 40% of soils degraded. Coupled with this, the accuracy, quality and consistency of advice across Devon and Cornwall is insufficient to deal with the scale of the problem. Currently, the public, private and charitable sectors are all trying to address this, but the size of the problem should not be underestimated and there are still considerable flooding, drought and pollution problems across the region.

The DCSA builds on work done through the Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services (CPES) project, to improve the articulation between advisors and regulators, and the Risk Aqua Soil (RAS) project, looking as monitoring soil water health as a way of assessing management outcomes. The DCSA acts as a non-political, non-lobbying collection of like-minded individuals operating through a myriad of projects and partnerships with an aim to:

BUILD CAPABILITY – Soils advice and knowledge of farming across the region is highly variable. The DCSA aims to improve this by delivering training and mentoring through farm advisory projects.

BUILD CAPACITY – There are 80+ advisors within the public, private and third sector but the need for soil management advice is significantly more than this.

It is often a small handful of soil scientists close to retirement who are found in a hole in the field reviewing soil health. The DCSA wants to understand not only who will 'fill' the holes of the future but also how many mentors we need across the region. To help facilitate this, a Water Environment Grant (WEG) project, funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) was developed to initiate this approach and to build a bigger roster of advisors and mentors.

Our advice

A joined up and collaborative approach can be much stronger for broad issues such as soil management or carbon.
Getting people together to share & discuss best practice.
Alliances can take time to develop.

Our metrics

The main outputs are:
- the training of people which includes 1 day of training for 40+ soil advisors,
- 10+ mentors trained to help provide advice to others,
- 2x demonstration SAC sites – including advice and remediation works
(these shall be assessed post-mediation to observe soil structure),
- 7 x Feasibility study reports – the success shall be determined if we can get extra funding for these catchments.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Location

West Devon

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation

Reach

Region

Organisation

Third Sector, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Giles Rickard

Updated Feb, 2024

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