New research focus on soil resilience and on reducing vulnerability to climate change

10 new EJP SOIL funded research projects will focus on agricultural ecosystem services, above and below ground. The objective is to improve soil health, soil carbon sequestration and reduce the effects of climate change on agricultural production.

2021.12.10 | Line Carlenius Berggreen

Mixed plants and crops, roots, microorganisms, soil carbon sequestration, agricultural ecosystem services, mapping and modelling of soil health, soil compaction, carbon farming schemes and practices are key topics on the EJP SOIL research forward agenda.

The new projects complement ongoing research activities in the EJP SOIL programme. This complementarity is especially seen in relation to the focus on digital tools such as proximal sensing and remote sensing, to assess soil characteristics, in particular in addressing soil carbon sequestration. Research on soil indicators of soil ecosystem services and functions, and of soil biodiversity, build on ongoing stocktake activities.

Among the new projects, some aim at improving the understanding of soil carbon sequestration, while others address specific soil management options to increase soil carbon sequestration by for example adding exogenous organic matter or optimizing below-ground C deposition.

Fostering better understanding of agricultural soil management

Six of the ten projects contribute to better understanding of agricultural soil management and its influence on climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, sustainable agricultural production and environmental protection e.g. through modelling and mapping indicators and values for reporting on, benchmarking of and evaluating soil biodiversity, ecosystem services and soil threats. Furthermore, they aim to assess best practise management options for soil health in relation to soil compaction and climate change mitigation.

Can soil carbon sequestration contribute to climate change mitigation?

Seven projects address organic carbon storage in soil, crop diversity, mixed species systems as levers, field monitoring of carbon stocks and soil fertility, and improved enabling conditions via carbon farming, to name a few. In addition, research topics address the understanding of how soil carbon sequestration can contribute to climate change mitigation at regional level.

International independent referee committee

These funded projects were selected from the 2nd call for internal research proposals. Three international independent referees have evaluated each proposal, and in line with H2020 rules, the evaluation is based on three criteria ranked equally: excellence, impact and implementation. All projects do target-oriented research aligned with the EJP SOIL pathways to expected impacts.

 ­­­“We expected to select only one project for each of the 2nd call EJP SOIL proposed topics. However, we received two excellent proposals for the topic on plant inputs below ground to enhance soil carbon sequestration and two for the topic on the effects of the soil biome on the persistence SOC storage and its drivers. Given their quality and their complementarity, we decided to validate the two projects per topic”, says EJP SOIL coordinator Claire Chenu, INRAE.

Kick-off: Ten times three years of research adventures

The projects started 1 November and 1 December 2021. You will be able to follow the progress and results of the projects on www.ejpsoil.eu and news articles will be published in the EJP SOIL Newsletter.


Additional information:

For further information on EJP SOIL, please contact EJP SOIL coordinator, Professor Claire Chenu at claire.chenu@inrae.fr   

For project call information, please contact Work Package leader of the internal project call office, Johanna Leppälä, LUKE at johanna.leppala@luke.fi


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