Securing #soilidity. Challenges and solutions for sustainable land use





German Agribusiness Alliance (GAA)
Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)

Cooperation partners:
German Eastern Business Association
German-Russian Agricultural Policy Dialogue

Time: Thursday, 27. January 2022, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Languages: English, German, Russian, Chinese

Climate change, soil degradation and water shortages threaten soil fertility and thus the basis of agriculture. The key question is how to reconcile economic and ecological efficiency. “Agriculture is dependent on the climate, so the goal in agriculture must be to substantially reduce emissions and sequester more CO2, methods for CO2 removal can make a decisive contribution to climate neutrality,” says Prof. Julia Pongratz, LMU Munich. However, a comprehensive assessment must be made with regards to undesirable side effects such as influences on the ecosystem and competition with land use opportunities, she added. Prof. Pavel Krasilnikov, Lomonosov University, Moscow, explained that climate-adapted agriculture in Russia will include more measures to preserve soil fertility and better manage climate change in the future. Torsten Spill, German Seed Alliance, emphasized the role of new plant varieties to produce yields under extreme soil conditions. In his view, international exchange and partnerships between industry and state institutes in research in crop production are central to being able to make appropriate offers. In conclusion, Cornelia Horsch, HORSCH Maschinen, was convinced that the modern agricultural sector would develop in the direction of hybrid agriculture, the combination of conventional and organic farming, in the future.


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Julia grew up in a farming family and studied agricultural science before joining BASF in 2001 in what is now the Agricultural Solutions division. In addition to working as staff of the BASF Board of Executive Directors, she led marketing teams in France and Canada and is now Vice President for Public Affairs. Here she leads a diverse global team that is passionate about shaping the agriculture of the future.


Panel Guests

Prof. Dr. Pavel Krasilnikov is a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a professor at the Department of Soil Geography and the Dean of the Faculty at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. He graduated from Lomonosov State University in Moscow with a specialization in soil science. He then received his PhD in biological sciences with a specialization in soil science. His research interests include the formation and geography of soils, mineralogy and micromorphology of soils, and economics of soil degradation. He is a member of the Presidium of the Central Council of the Dokuchaev Society of Soil Scientists and an honorary member of the International Union of Soil Sciences (2010-2014 Vice-Chairman of the Commission “Classification of Soils”).

Dr. Bin Zhang is Professor of Soil Biophysics and soil Fertility in the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and adjunct Professor in the Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He received his M.Sc. in agronomy/agroecology from the Nanjing Agricultural University and his Ph. D in Soil Science. He was awarded with the Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and worked the Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Christian-Albrechts- University Kiel from 1999 to 2000. He has been involved in many national and international projects, covering a wide range for sustainability of crop productivity, soil and water conservation, soil tillage and water use, crop straw management and soil organic matter sequestration, with an emphasis on the interactions of physical and biological processes of the managed agro-ecosystems and restored degraded natural ecosystems from soil aggregate scale to small watershed scale and the ecological functions of the interactions.

After studies at LMU and the University of Maryland Julia Pongratz received her PhD on the early human impact on the Earth system in 2009 at the University of Hamburg and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. She investigated food security and geoengineering as a postdoc at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, then led the independent research group “Forest Management in the Earth System” at MPI-M. She moved to LMU Munich in 2018 as head of chair for Physical Geography and Land Use Systems. She contributes to the IPCC’s Assessment Reports, is member of the Scientific Steering Committees of two Coupled Model Intercomparison (CMIP6) projects on land use and carbon cycle feedbacks and the Future Earth’s projects AIMES and the Global Carbon Project. She coordinates the synthesis of the German Ministry of Education and Research’s program on Carbon Dioxide Removal.

Cornelia Horsch holds a degree in economics and is Managing Director of HORSCH Maschinen GmbH and on the Board of HORSCH Holding SE as well as Managing Director of the French subsidiary Horsch France SARL. One of the goals of her work is to further network and strengthen through intensive communication the areas of service, sales and marketing in order to expand the existing markets and open up new markets. In an honorary capacity, Cornelia Horsch is involved in the board of the LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania. The state-recognized university is the result of a private initiative to promote the qualifications of young people in the Baltic country. As Chairwoman of the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University Council, she focuses on current issues and relevant developments in higher education.

Torsten Spill holds a degree in business mathematics and is an experienced expert in the international agricultural and food industry. After many years in positions at EDEKA-Fruchtkontor and Dole Food Co., he was CEO of the Solana Group from 2008 to 2020, responsible for the management of the family-owned company and particularly involved in expanding the group’s business activities in the Russian Federation. For one year now, Torsten Spill has been General Representative of the German Seed Alliance, which is considered one of the leading suppliers of seeds and seedlings in Russia. In an honorary capacity, Torsten Spill has been involved with the German agricultural industry since 2012, including the German Plant Breeders Association (BDP) and the German Agribusiness Alliance (GAA).

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