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Highly efficient management of soil quality and land resources


Harmonising land information is crucial for building common understanding of the resource base, with special regard to prime land. Harmonisation should be based on the Eurasian coverage of the new global soil map, incorporating local soil information. Indicators for sustainable intensification and delineation of both prime agricultural land and problem lands should be defined. Options for a trade-off between ecology and productivity should be demonstrated for both productive and less productive land. Influence of climate change and impact of land use change should be incorporated to the models, especially targeting the loss of prime land. The achievement of a new balance should also consider the socio-economic context. In order to achieve the suitability-based highly-efficient land resources management, focus has to be on soil properties (carbon in particular), nutrient input to soil (N, P, K) and N fixation. Proposals shall promote balanced research and innovation cooperation between the EU and China. China-based entities that will participate in joint projects with European partners under Horizon 2020 have also the possibility to apply for funding under the Chinese co-funding mechanism.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Contributions for Chinese participants will come in addition and will be made available by China.

Production, protection and remediation are the three major components for securing global food supply on limited land resources for the growing global population. As competition between urban, industrial/transportation and agricultural land uses increases, food production needs to be maintained on decreasing land areas. To achieve a new balance on a higher output level, with possibly less input is the ultimate goal of resource use efficiency, sustainable management and competitiveness of agriculture. Land suitability-based management with prioritisation of targets (outputs) has to be in place and life cycle assessment of nutrient flows need to be included. Harmonisation between environmental and social targets has to be made on the basis of common/harmonised data and parameters of soil and land. Research should focus more on priority areas in the optimisation of land use and environmental protection taking into consideration the specific ecological and socio-economic conditions in China and Europe.

in the short to medium term:

  • Introduce a new harmonised land information base for Europe and China;
  • Propose indicators and management solutions for a new balance of soil resource utilisation;
  • Raise public awareness about land as a crucial global resource;
  • Improvement of common understanding of prime land and problem land in the global context.

In the long term enhance EU-China cooperation in land use optimisation for global food and environmental security.