Pillar 1

pillar_01This Pillar will oversee the development of a Decision Support Tool (DST) for farmers and advisors, which we will name the Soil Navigator (analogous to the ‘Carbon Navigator’ by Murphy et al., 2013). This Soil Navigator will provide a menu of user-friendly soil management strategies, ranked by cost-effectiveness, to manage the soil functions on individual farms (local scale). This menu will be stratified by pedo-climatic zone and farming system.

The ranking of these strategies will be derived from existing soil-plant/crop-atmosphere models that combine crop growth measurements and soil processes for the prediction of primary productivity (Porter and Christensen, 2013) and the environmental functions (e.g. Ghaley et al., 2014). Farmers and extension services participating in LANDMARK will be actively involved in developing and testing these tools. Pillar 1 will be co-ordinated by Prof Christian Bugge Henriksen (University of Copenhagen).

 Pillar 2

pillar_02This Pillar will develop a monitoring schema for the range of soil functions associated with different soil types, land-uses and European major climatic zones (Boreal, Atlantic, Continental, Mediterranean and Pannonian) (regional scale). Many indicators have been developed in the past which focus on threats to soil quality (Kibblewhite et al., 2008) but this terminology has proven difficult to communicate with farmers and land-managers at the local scale (Schulte et al., 2014).

Therefore LANDMARK will focus on indicators that provide the end-user with an assessment of soil functionality instead of threats. The selection of indicators will be performed on existing datasets, as several of the project partners have large scale databases on measurements of soil functions. The selection of these regional indicators will be synchronous and harmonised with the selection of the on-farm in Pillar 1, and will be reviewed with the main stakeholders of this Pillar. The regional indicators will be tested at 100 sites across Europe, based on a soil type x land-use matrix for the major climatic zones of Europe. Pillar 2 will be co-ordinated by Prof Rachel Creamer (Wageningen University).

Pillar 3

pillar_03This will provide an assessment of policy tools for optimising the supply of soil functions at EU scale. The partners of the LANDMARK consortium have developed the concept of Functional Land Management (Schulte et al., 2014): this is a framework for matching the supply of, and demand for, soil functions at large spatial scales. Examples include changes in land management practices to incentivise intensive food production on fertile soils (to meet global dietary requirements), to support nutrient provision/cycling (with relevance for resource use efficiency), to maintain the demand for water purification (in order to meet the WFD requirements) and to meet the need for soil carbon sequestration (to contribute to EU GHG reduction targets).

LANDMARK will use European databases to define sets of proxy indicators for the five groups of soil functions. These functions will be assessed across the same land-use x soil type matrix used in Pillars 1 and 2. This policy-oriented Pillar 3 will be led by Dr Arwyn Jones (European Commission DG JRC) and will include input from Pillars 1 and 2. This Pillar will have an intercontinental perspective, as it will work with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Sao Paulo to facilitate shared learning on a range of incentivisation programmes and implementation schemes for soil management.