Periodic Reporting for period 3 - LANDMARK (LAND Management: Assessment, Research, Knowledge base)
Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31
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.
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 scenarios were used to evaluate synergies and trade-offs between the different soil functions. The outcome of the work described above has been used to develop a set of policy options (presented as Deliverable D5.3) reflecting feedback from the Stakeholder Workshops carried out by WP1 at the onset of the project.