Down to Earth: EU-funded projects that will help save our soil

The European Commission has recently adopted the new EU Soil Strategy 2030. The European Research Executive Agency has funded several Horizon 2020 projects that aim to help improve soil health and promote more sustainable soil management practices. Among the selection of outstanding funded projects is HoliSoils.

The EU Soil Strategy sets a framework and concrete measures for the protection, restoration and sustainable use of soils, with the vision that by 2050, all EU soils ecosystem will be healthy and more resilient. The Soil Strategy is an important deliverable of the European Green Deal and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 in facing the climate and biodiversity crises.

The European Research Executive Agency (REA) manages several EU-funded projects that can contribute to this vision. These projects will support the objectives of the EU mission A Soil Deal for Europe, which, will provide EUR 320 million in seed funding through Horizon Europe from 2021-2023. The projects will also help us to learn more about soil, improve its health and help us achieve more sustainable soil management practices. 

So, what are the projects that can help revolutionise our knowledge of soil across Europe and the world? 

  • HoliSoils seeks a holistic way to gain a better understanding of forest soil processes in relation to forest management and to develop tools for soil monitoring correlated with land use, land-use change and the forestry sector.
  • Soil Mission Support is on a mission to help protect our soil and improve soil management in keeping with the EU mission A Soil Deal for Europe. It analyses needs for research and innovation, identifying knowledge gaps and defining a set of strategic criteria for Living Labs and Lighthouses, a crucial element of the mission.
  • SOILGUARD will help us understand more about soil biodiversity and assess the status of soil biodiversity and its contribution to the provision and value of soil mediated ecosystem services. 
  • TUDI is a global initiative involving 15 partners from across Europe, China and New Zealand who seek to improve health and reverse degradation in agricultural soils.  
  • MINAGRIS aims to contribute to healthy soils in Europe by assessing the impact of plastic debris on agricultural soils.
  • PAPILLONS will provide the first digital European atlas of agricultural plastic use, management and waste production.

This article was originally published by the European Research Executive Agency on 25 November 2021.