The strategic goal of EcoFINDERS is to provide the EC with tools to design and implement soil strategies aimed at ensuring sustainable use of soils, including: i) Characterisation of European soil biodiversity; ii) Determination of relations between soil biodiversity, soil functions and ecosystem services; iii) Design of policy-relevant and cost-effective indicators for monitoring soil biodiversity. The project will: i) Develop and standardise tools and procedures to measure microbial and faunal diversity; ii) Describe the diversity of soil organisms (microbes and fauna), iii) Decipher the interactions among soil organisms and with plants through foodwebs and iv) Determine the role played by soil organisms in soils ecosystem services (nutrient cycling, carbon storage, water retention, soil structure regulation, resistance to pests and diseases, and regulation of above-ground diversity); iii) Establish cost-effective bioindicators for measuring sustainability of the microbial and faunal diversity and their associated functions (using a combination of metrics and meta-analysis); iv) Evaluate the economic value of ecosystem services, the added value of these bioindicators; v) Develop and implement effective communication strategies to engage the European public around issues associated with the sustainability of soil biodiversity. The overall concept of the project is to develop and integrate the following activities: i) Decipher the links between soil biodiversity, activities, functioning and ecosystem services; ii) Combine three types of approach: observation, experimentation, and computation; iii) Assess the impact of environmental conditions; iv) Integrate information on microbes, fauna and plant communities and analyse how these compartments interact. The general hypotheses are: changes in soil biodiversity indicate the direction and rate of changes in soil functions and associated ecosystem services; application of cost-effective bioindicators brings an economic added value to sustainable soil management.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-IP - Large-scale integrating project