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Interactive Soil Quality Assessment in Europe and China for Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Resilience

Title OriginalInteractive Soil Quality Assessment in Europe and China for Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Resilience

To manage the use of agricultural soils well, decision-makers need science-based, easy to apply and cost-effective tools to assess soil quality and function. Moreover, assessments must be accompanied by recommendations relevant to the land user at a given moment and location. At present, such tools are too expensive, too complex, unbalanced regarding attention to different aspects of soil quality, and weakly linked to management recommendations. Furthermore, policy decisions need to consider the management of agricultural soils in the wider context of trade-offs with other economic sectors, and ecosystem service impacts and contributions (i.e. the soil environmental footprint). Due to such interactions, procedures are needed that enable various potential stakeholders to indicate vulnerabilities and influence decisions in a timely way. Hence, various stakeholders, including policy-makers, industries and land users need to overcome knowledge gaps and integration gaps in order to link soil quality indicators, management options, and implications for ecosystem service provisioning of agricultural soils.

Detailed Description
  • The proposed initiative, entitled ‘Interactive Soil Quality Assessment in Europe and China for Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Resilience’ (iSQAPER) therefore aims to:
  • Integrate existing soil quality related information with characterisations of crop and livestock farming systems in various pedo-climatic zones across Europe and China.
  • Synthesize the evidence for agricultural management effects provided by long-term field trials across Europe and China on soil physical, chemical and biological properties, including interactions, and related ecosystem services such as agricultural productivity and yield stability.
  • Derive and identify innovative soil quality indicators that can be integrated into an easy-to-use interactive soil quality assessment tool, accounting for the effects of agricultural land management practices and related effects upon ecosystem services.
  • Develop, with input from a variety of stakeholders, a multilingual Soil Quality Application (SQAPP) for in-field soil quality assessment and monitoring as an example of social innovation that allows interaction between multi-level actors.
  • Test, refine, and roll out SQAPP across Europe and China as a new standard for holistic assessment of agricultural soil quality.
  • Use a trans-disciplinary, multi-actor approach to validate and support SQAPP and to become truly relevant for agricultural practice under a wide range of circumstances.
  • Develop scenarios of how widespread application of improved agricultural management practices can contribute to a lower soil environmental footprint at a continental scale (Europe and China), while maintaining or increasing crop productivity and yield stability.
  • Carry out an integrated assessment of existing soil and agriculture related EU and national (including China) policies and derive recommendations for improvement, i.e. through the post-2020 CAP.
  • Disseminate project results using a variety of formats and media to inform and engage targeted stakeholders, ranging from land users to high-level policy makers and the general public.
(Research) Program
  • European Commission, Horizon 2020
  • State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)
Project partners
  1. (Coord) Wageningen University (WU), Netherlands, University
  2. Joint Research Center (JRC), Italy, Research Institute
  3. Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL), Switzerland, Foundation / Charity
  4. Universität Bern (UNIBE), Switzerland, University
  5. University of Évora (UE), Portugal, University
  6. Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Spain, University
  7. Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), UK and Belgium, SME
  8. Foundation for Sustainable Development of the Mediterranean (MEDES), Italy, SME
  9. ISRIC World Soil Information (ISRIC), Netherlands, Foundation
  10. Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (DLO), Netherlands, Foundation
  11. Institute of Agrophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IA), Poland, Research Institute
  12. Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (IAES), Estonia, University
  13. University of Ljubljana (UL), Slovenia, University
  14. National Research and Development Institute for Soil Science, Agrochemistry and Environmental Protection (ICPA), Romania, Research institute
  15. Agrarian School of Coimbra (ESAC), Portugal, Higher Education
  16. University of Miguel Hernández (UMH), Spain, University
  17. Agricultural University Athens (AUA), Greece, University
  18. Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IARRP), China, Research Institute
  19. Institute of Soil and Water Conservation of Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISWC), China, Research Institute
  20. Soil and Fertilizer Institute of the Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (SFI), China, Research Institute
  21. D-sign (D-sign), Netherlands, SME
  22. CorePage (CorePage), Netherlands, SME
  23. BothEnds (BothEnds), Netherlands, SME
  24. University of Pannonia (UP), Hungary, University
  25. Institute of Soil Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISS), China, Research Institute
  26. Gaec de la Branchette (GB), France, SME
FiBL project leader/ contact
FiBL project staff (people who are not linked are former FiBL employees)
Role of FiBL

Lead of WP3

Project partner in WP1, WP4, WP6, WP9

Research area
FiBL project number 10092
Date modified 12.11.2019
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