Topic ID: ES1/ES2

Methodologies and tools to assess the contribution of soils to ecosystem services / for assessing soil quality

Rationale

Soil is the upper layer of the earth's crust, which fulfils multiple soil functions that are essential for human life. The soil`s natural functions are multi-fold as they i) ensure life through sustaining primary productivity and a large part of the overall biodiversity, ii) play a key role in the carbon, nutrient and water cycles and iii) control multiple natural processes (e.g. buffering, filtering). Evidently soil is useful to humans as i) a source of raw materials, ii) land for settlement, economic and public uses, and iii) agricultural and silvicultural land use. However, the soil’s capacity to sustain functions can be altered by a number of degradation processes, thus decreasing their capacities to provide ecosystem services.

Scope

The study will review the main approaches developed and published in the literature, in EU wide programmes (MAES) and in EU projects (e.g. LandMark) and whether they use indicators of soil properties (soil state), soil functions or of soil ecosystem services.

Then study will stocktake what is used in partner countries and whether assessments on the links between soil properties, functions and ecosystem services have been translated into policy implementation/land management options in the participating member states.

The study will also stocktake the sustainable values of SOC, soil fertility and degradation risk and associated target values of indicators, available in the literature, or already used at regional or national scale. This analysis will have to consider explicitly all European agro-climatic regions.

Output/Expected impact

Inventory of i) evaluation frameworks for ecosystem services / soil quality in use in Europe and of the associated knowledge and development needs, and ii) desirable values of SOC, soil quality, soil biodiversity and degradation risk and associated target values of indicators and identification of the knowledge needs for given pedoclimatic and agricultural system contexts.

Project type: A combined stocktake / 40 PM

Available funding: 460 k€ 

Relation to EJP SOIL objectives and tasks

This stocktake should consider outputs of a WP2 stocktake T2.4.2.