About the project
Although monitoring the degradation of soil quality has progressed, less has been achieved to reverse soil degradation.
About two billion people and 1.9 billion hectares of land are affected by land degradation globally, with an estimated cost to the global economy between $18-20 trillion USD annually. The European Commission estimates that current management practices result in approximately 60-70% of EU soils being unhealthy, with a further uncertain percentage of unhealthy soils due to poorly quantified pollution issues.
Multiple comprehensive EU and Chinese initiatives recognise the challenge of increasing agricultural production to supply the growing demands for healthy and sustainable food, while at the same time conserving their soil resource base.
TUdi integrates complementary needs regarding stakeholders as well as expertise regarding agronomy, soil management, fertilization practices, soil science, digital farming, soil conservation, and socioeconomics to address the challenges and scope of the topic “Healthy soils for healthy food production”. The project will design, test and deliver a set of tools to allow farmers, technicians, companies and government agents to carry out those strategies at farm level tailoring the techniques to local conditions.
Location and description of the long-term monitored areas for the TUdi network. Number in circles indicates number of monitored area by country
TUdi's specific objectives are to:
- Document processes and quantify impacts of soil remediation and fertilizers use strategies;
- Develop strategies for enhancing the quality of soils for food production in agricultural systems;
- Develop and validate stakeholder-oriented solutions to evaluate soil status and socioeconomic implications for key agricultural systems;
- Develop a set of decision support tools at field scale suitable for adaptation to EU and Chinese conditions integrating previous cooperative research;
- Build and implement the project around the requests of a community of stakeholders following EIP-Agri and Open Science approach;
- Create a community of soil care stakeholders and scientists for the main agricultural systems across EU, China and New Zealand.
WP2 objectives are to: 1) provide underpinning science to develop solid strategies for planning and implementing strategies for enhancing the quality of soils for food production and the provision of ecosystems services; 2) increase farmer awareness of how fertilization choices affect crops and soil environment health; 3) provide farmers and other stakeholders with robust, flexible but simple tools to put in action soil restoring and improved fertilization practices.
This WP aims to to develop and test methods and strategies to: 1) improve soil health and resilience to future perturbations by better understanding the potential and role of vegetation аs cover crops; 2) develop a comprehensive set of soil restoration strategies across diverse environments using vegetation traits as the main tool; 3) Validate simplified soil health indexes for stakeholder use. To achieve this, WP3 will use EU-Chinese networks of experimental and ‘real world’ farmscapes to test strategies to restore degraded soils under different systems, and EU-China degradation-restoration gradients to improve understanding of crop-soil trait relationships.
Among the priorities of WP4 is to benchmark the economic and social sustainability, including gender dimensions, of the soil restoration strategies for the three cropping systems and farm typologies covered by the project. Outcomes of the WP will be a systematic cost benefit analysis for a broad range of technologies in different cropping systems and farm typologies, with their implications at larger regional scales identified for policy makers, allowing their inclusion in agricultural and environmental policies.
The objective of this WP is to coordinate national networks of scientists and cooperators engaged in TUdi and harmonise their interactions within an international network. In this network the interaction with farmers will be based in periodic workshops and field days with members of this network. The main outcomes of this WP will be: 1) soil restoration and fertilization strategies (and accompanying supporting tools) developed and tested in the project that have been co-created with end users and other relevant stakeholders; 2) to provide trained farmers, technical advisors and scientists to transition agriculture towards sustainable soil management in the three regions of the project.
The project will be managed by the EU coordinator in partnership with the Chinese co-leader, supported by a management team and overseen by an international advisory board comprising leading scientists. Objectives of WP6 will be to: 1) support and review project progress against objectives and milestones; 2) ensure an appropriate handling of administrative responsibilities and any ethical related issue; 3) ensure strong communications between all partners; 4) reinforce all WPs by providing additional support; 5) coordinate actions aimed to promote diversity and inclusivity in the project; 6) ensure that gender dimensions are properly addressed; 7) Oversee the data management, IPR, and exploitation activities; and 8) Coordinate communication activities outside of the consortium and raise public awareness of the importance of soil as a finite global resource.