The goal for Latvia in the BIO4ECO project is to look at land use from ‘smarter’, effective and sustainable perspective. Reliable source of information is an integral part of this process so there should be developed up to date soil information system.

On October 18, 2017, regular meeting of the local stakeholders group (LSG) was extended by participation of experts from NIBIO who covers a wide variety of basic research and management issues devoted to soil management within the forest, agricultural and economic sectors. NIBIO is an institution that among other tasks collects soil information and provides it to Norwegian policy makers. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development also were present at the meeting.

LSG previously acknowledged the importance of up to date soil data in putting forward bioeconomy related legislative initiatives, especially those on land use policy.

During the meeting, NIBIO experts and Latvian soil scientists, which also were present, shared knowledge with LSG members on developments of soil data bases and soil information systems as well as possibilities to use soil data for strategic policy framing in the bioeconomy sector, more focusing on land use policy planning. This aspect of soil information is particularly important for land use planning in Latvia as organic soils cover about 16% of agricultural and forest soils in Latvia. Considering this remarkable share, organic soils have important commercial impact on primary sector of production (including in biomass collection), but there is also even more substantial climate impact due to greenhouse gas emissions from management of these soils. Thus, targeted management planning towards low carbon economy would not be wise without particular and comprehensive knowledge on soil information.

Organic soils are entirely relevant topic in a view of planning of smart land use in Latvia, therefore inclusive study on organic soil distribution and management was carried out within the BIO4ECO project. During the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture presented to LSG members the results of BIO4ECO study “Management of organic soils for effective land use solutions” and later LSG approved final report of this study.