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23 April 2020

Soil and Civilization: Sustaining Farming for the Future

The Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography invites you to join the 2020 Vega Symposium on the topic of Soil and Civilization

Photo: Andrea Caraja / Pixabay

The Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography invites you to join the 2020 Vega Symposium, on the topic of Soil and Civilization.

Soil is a defining characteristic of physical geography. It’s presence, absence, and character helps shape landscapes around the world. And though soil is the foundation for both ecology and human civilizations, it remains one of humanity’s least valued natural resources.

Now with each passing year ongoing soil loss and degradation makes it that much harder to keep feeding a growing world. Rebuilding the health and productivity of the world’s agricultural soils presents opportunities to forge a new relationship between people and the land.

The Symposium will explore soil functions for sustainable productivity and for soilmediated ecosystem services from agricultural landscapes such as bio-diversity, carbon sequestration, water cycling, clean water, and control of erosion and flooding. Building on this approach the global spread of Conservation Agriculture and other styles of regenerative farming could form the basis for a soil health revolution to sustain farming well into the future and contribute to addressing climate change over the 21st Century.




14:15  Opening of the Vega Symposium. Associate Professor Thomas Borén, President SSAG and Chair of the Symposium

14.20  Introduction. Professor Lennart Olsson, Lund University, Moderator

14:30  Growing a Soil Health Revolution. Professor David Montgomery, University of Washington, USA.

15:15  Sequestration of carbon in soil for food and climate. Professor Rattan Lal, Ohio State University, USA.

15:45  Coffee

16:15  Realising the potential of soil biodiversity in shaping future sustainable food systems and mitigating climate change. Professor Katarina Hedlund, Lund University, Sweden.

16:45  Global adoption of Conservation Agriculture: Regenerating soil health. Professor Amir Kassam, University of Reading, UK.

17:15 Discussion

17:45 Closing of the Symposium


The 2020 Vega Symposium honours David Montgomery, professor at University of Washington, recipient of SSAG’s Vega Medal 2020, for his profound contributions to physical geography, especially within the field of geomorphology. Watch a briefing with David Montgomery, produced in connection to our Save our Soils event in 2015.


From 23 April 2020 at 14:15 to 23 April 2020 at 17:45


De Geer-salen, Geovetenskapens hus, Stockholm University.

Hosted by

The Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography