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LAND Management: Assessment, Research, Knowledge base

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - LANDMARK (LAND Management: Assessment, Research, Knowledge base)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

In an expanding global economy, how can we manage the competing societal demands on land? These demands include: i) food production, ii) carbon storage, iii) the provision of clean water, iv) habitats for biodiversity and v) nutrient cycling.
LANDMARK is a European Research Project on the sustainable management of land and soil in Europe.
The question that LANDMARK addressed was: ‘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?
LANDMARK is a 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 Commission. Landmark is supported by COPA-COGECA, and led by WUR, Wageningen University & Research.
The project provided guidelines on land management, aimed at meeting the multiple demands we place on soil resources.
Those the three outcomes produced:
• For farmers & advisors the Soil Navigator, an agricultural Decision Support System (DSS) for soil management that optimizes soil functions;
• For legislators: a monitoring scheme for quality and soil functions applicable at regional scale and across Europe, for a range of soil types, land uses and pedo-climatic zones;
• For policy makers: 11 policy options for Functional Land Management at EU scale to optimize the sustainable use of soil across major land uses.
Pillar 1 focused on the local scale and the development of the Soil Navigator decision support system (DSS) for assessing and improving the supply of several soil functions simultaneously ( Soil Navigator has been developed to support farmers and advisors in sustainable management of their land and soil in the long term by i) assessing the initial supply of the five main soil functions based on data entered by the user, ii) providing a number of management recommendations to improve specific soil functions based on the demand and importance entered by the user and iii) evaluating the resulting supply of soil functions based on user preferences for the suggested management recommendations.
The multi-disciplinary team assessed the needs of farmers/advisors for the DSS and incorporated this with scientific knowledge and available data to provide a reliable and user-friendly DSS. The Soil navigator is freely available online in different languages, together with 5 soil functions papers and a DSS dedicated paper, a teaser, an info graphic and video tutorials in different languages.

Pillar 2 developed and tested a monitoring schema to evaluate the supply of soil functions across the climatic regions of Europe. The Pillar 2 team evaluated existing soil monitoring systems across Europe and Member States, considering both the indicators applied and the sampling schema designs. LANDMARK assessed the LUCAS-Soil survey (implemented by the Joint Research Council) which was a pan-European monitoring system, which was started in 2009, with a focus on soil chemical properties, but had since been sampled again in 2015 and 2018 with additional biological and physical properties included for some sites. LANDMARK Pillar 2 worked with the Joint Research Council (JRC) to further optimise the LUCAS-Soil survey to facilitate the monitoring of soil functions rather than soil properties per se.
To define the appropriate set of attributes (indicators) required for the calculation of soil functions, measurements required to compute the five soil functions were defined. These measurements were further assessed in a pan-European sampling campaign to ensure feasibility of data collection (Task 5.4). The test sampling schema included 94 sites across 5 climatic zones (Alpine S., Atlantic, Continental, Mediterranean N., and Pannonia) the sites were split by land-cover (use) into arable – (cereal rotation sites) and grassland (>5 years under grass) sites. Sites were sampled by two teams from 13th April 2018 to 13th June 2018, covering 12 European countries. A management survey was conducted with all farmers. A database containing the soil, environmental and management attributes for the 94 sites was developed and this was used to calculate the capacity of the five soil functions for each site. The data from the sites, the functional capacity and the management recommendations were then communicated back to the 94 site owners through the local contact teams in LANDMARK.

Pillar 3 focused on delivering a set of 11 policy options addressing EU-perspectives on agricultural land management and how they affect the supply of, and demand for, soil functions.
For each soil function, the key governance challenges, together with the main market and policy drivers have been outlined, leading to the development of unique, spatially explicit indicators. A paper on Demands on land: Mapping competing societal expectations for the functionality of agricultural soils in Europe has been published. Deliverable 4.2 aimed to quantify the potential supply of soil functions at EU level through the integration of the outputs of biogeochemical processes based models with Bayesian Belief Networks. Supply maps were produced for all five soil functions in agricultural mineral soils. Due to issues with data suitability and availability only the carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling functions could be evaluated for organic soils.
Different spatial scenar
LANDMARK worked to change how society perceives and manages its soils. To achieve this we moved beyond the standard research and analysis of soil quality and we developed a new paradigm about how we understand our soils. Functional Land Management provided the platform to do this, and allowed us to communicate with stakeholders/managers of our soils across multiple scales (32 workshops). At the local scale we talked to farmers and farm advisors about the role soil plays on their farms and how understanding the multiple functions a soil performs can help to optimise both productivity and environment ( At national and regional scale across Europe we invited stakeholders to understand how our soils differ in their ability to supply soil functions and what the influence of climate and management may be on this performance (tested at 94 sites across Europe). To do this we worked with national level and European researchers and governments to develop feasible monitoring schema which will inform at national and European scale the functionality of our soils. At European scale we assessed the demands we place on our soils and assess how CAP2020 can be further developed to ensure a sustainable future for our soils (11 policy options).
Launch of LANDMARK at Roundtable 1 hosted by TEAGASC, County Wexford, Ireland, May 2015.
Test of the Pillar 1 soil navigator DST in Scalabrini farm during Roundtable 6, Parma, Italy, Oct 17
Test of a Regional Stakeholder workshop during Roundtable 2 hosted by UNILASALLE ( former ESITPA), R
Roundtable 3 hosted by SZIU, Godollo, Hungary, May 2016
Roundtable 4 hosted by ETHZ , Feldis, Switzerland, November 2016
Roundtable 5 hosted by Cluj Napoca University, Romania, May 2017
LANDMARK logo, five soil functions, 22 partners
Roundtable 6 hosted by Parma University, Italy, October 2017