THE PROJECT

LANDMARK is a European Research Project on the sustainable management of land and soil in Europe. The questions that LANDMARK aims to address are: “How can we make the most of our land? How can we ensure that our soils deliver on the many expectations we have of our land?”. These expectations (or ‘demands’) include:

  1. Primary productivity (agriculture and forestry)
  2. Water purification and regulation
  3. Carbon sequestration, cycling and regulation
  4. Provision of functional and intrinsic biodiversity
  5. Provision and cycling of nutrients.

LANDMARK is a pan-European multi-actor consortium of 22 partner institutes from 14 EU countries plus Switzerland, China and Brazil. These include universities, applied research institutes, Chambers of Agriculture, an SME and the European Commissionthat will develop a coherent framework for soil management aimed at sustainable food production across Europe. Landmark is led by Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and is supported by a series of organizations being part of our Stakeholder Steering Committee ( FAO, COPA-COGECA, EFI, EUFRAS, DG-AGRI, DG-ENV, EMBRAPA, EFSA, EEA, EIONET, etc.)

Download the one page Fast facts 2015 and Fast facts 2016 to be quickly update on our progress.

OBJECTIVES

The overall scientific aim of LANDMARK is to:

Comprehensively quantify the current and potential supply of soil functions across the EU, as determined by soil properties (soil diagnostic criteria), land use (arable, grassland, forestry) and soil management practices.

The specific project objectives of LANDMARK are to produce:

  1. For farmers & advisors – a Soil Navigator that provides advice on the sustainable management of soils on ‘my farm’. This agricultural Decision Support Tool (DST) will be developed for soil management that optimises soil functions, both from an agronomic perspective (optimising yields) and an ecosystem function perspective (enhanced environmental performance), and that sustains soil functions by mitigating threats to soil quality;
  2. For legislators – a framework for monitoring of soil quality and soil functions that is applicable across Europe. The monitoring scheme designed will be applicable at regional scale, for a range of soil types, land uses and pedo-climatic zones;
  3. For policy makers – an assessment of policies that can ensure that we ‘make the most of our land’, from both an agronomic and environmental point of view. The policy framework developed for ‘Functional Land Management’ at European scale will optimise the sustainable use of Europe’s soil resource across all major land uses: grassland, arable and forestry.

To deliver on these specific project objectives, LANDMARK is structured along three straight ‘Lines of Sight’ from the project objectives to project outcomes. We will refer to these Lines of Sight as Project Pillars. Each Pillar addresses one of the three project objectives, and Pillar Leaders are responsible for ensuring that the outputs of all work packages are aligned to the overall outcomes of the three Pillars.

PROJECT DETAILS

From 2015-05-01 to 2019-10-31, ongoing project

Coordinated by:

TEAGASC (Ireland)

Call for proposal:

H2020-SFS-2014-2    See other projects for this call

Funding scheme:

RIA – Research and Innovation action

BACKGROUND

The LANDMARK proposal builds on the concept that soils are a finite resource that provides a range of ecosystem services known as “soil functions”. Functions relating to agriculture include: primary productivity, water regulation and purification, carbon sequestration, cycling and regulation, habitat for functional and intrinsic biodiversity and nutrient provision and cycling. Trade-offs between these functions may occur: for example, management aimed at maximising primary production may inadvertently affect the ‘water purification’ or ‘habitat’ functions. This has led to conflicting management recommendations and policy initiatives. There is now an urgent need to develop a coherent scientific and practical framework for the sustainable management of soils ( Schulte et al., 2015).
LANDMARK will uniquely respond to the breadth of this challenge by delivering (through multi-actor development) three tools following different scales ( local, regional and European).

 There have been many individual research initiatives that either address the management & assessment of individual soil functions, or address multiple soil functions, but only at local scales. LANDMARK will build on these existing R&D initiatives: the consortium partners bring together a wide range of significant national and EU datasets, with the ambition of developing an interdisciplinary scientific framework for sustainable soil management.