Topic ID CM8

Evaluating soil management options for specific objectives: Trade-offs between soil organic carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions and/or N and P losses 


Storing more C in soils may lead to adverse effects on the climate and on the environment, by increasing other GHG emissions (N2O, CH4) and by affecting water quality (nitrate leaching). Soil management strategies for C sequestration focus on increased input of organic matter (crop residues, cover crops, green manure, biochar etc.) or decreased turnover of soil organic matter via either increased stabilization of SOC in mineral soils (manipulation of soil microbiome and soil biology to increase formation of stabilized SOC, quality of organic matter inputs, spatio-temporal distribution of inputs) or by reducing the conditions for SOC turnover (e.g. increased groundwater table in previously cultivated and drained peatlands and organic soils). Many of these strategies have significant implications for emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, i.e. rewetting of peatlands may greatly enhance methane emissions and adding N-rich crop residues may enhance nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching.


The project will analyse the potential trade-offs for major pedo-climatic zones and farming systems in Europe. The project will gather knowledge from past and current EU activities on quantifying the trade-offs and synergies, initiate and perform targeted measurements and modelling activities to fill in significant knowledge gaps, and synthesize knowledge into proposed robust indicators to predict trade-offs and synergies, as well as measures to mitigate trade-offs.

Output/Expected impact

Robust indicators to predict trade-offs and synergies, as well as measures to mitigate trade-offs.

Project type

Two medium size projects (2x150 PM), considering the specificities of organic versus mineral soils or contrasted climate conditions in Europe. 

Available funding: 2*1.73 M€