Soil biodiversity enhancement in European agroecosystems to promote their stability and resilience by external inputs reduction and crop performance increase
The agricultural sector is essential for European food security and it is present in many socio-economic EU´s frameworks. In fact, the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the most important European policies in terms of budget. However, there are many challenges for Europe around agriculture that have not been adequately addressed yet. The most important is the livelihood of millions of farmers who face a high amount of threats related with agricultural profitability and stability. Loss of soil biodiversity represents one key challenge and may adversely affect the functioning, stability, resilience and adaptability of agro-ecosystems and associated ecosystem services, both within and beyond the farm level. Therefore, the protection and enhancement of soil biodiversity should be an important objective for farmers. However, there is currently a lack of incentives (agronomic, economic and social) for farmers to safeguard biodiversity. With the long-term view of fostering the synergies between agricultural production, biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services of local, regional and global relevance, the SoildiverAgro consortium come together to develop and deploy innovative soil biodiversity research and crop management innovation.
The main objective of SoildiverAgro is the adoption of new management practices and cropping systems that enhance soil genetic and functional biodiversity to reduce the use of external inputs while increasing crop production and quality, the delivery of ecosystem services and the EU agricultural stability and resilience.
In total, 90 farm systems will be analysed in 9 pedoclimatic regions in Europe and 15 field case studies will be designed and established in six of the pedoclimatic regions. The focus will be on the use of innovative management practices based on soil mycorrhiza and plant growth promoting bacteria (including the development and testing of new commercial products), appropriate management of soil organisms (e.g. fungivores), the application of suitable crop rotations, multiple cropping and intercropping, the development of pest alert systems, the use of nutrient catch crops, the use of trap crops for pest control, the use of by-products as soil ameliorants and the application of adequate tillage systems.
6.2019 - 5.2024
Project funding number: 817819
Project status: ongoing