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EU Project SOILSERVICE

Investigates the conflicting demands of land use, soil biodiversity and the sustainable delivery of ecosystem goods

European soil biodiversity is pivotal for delivering food, fiber and biofuels and carbon storage. However, the demand is greater than the amount of soil available, as production of biofuels competes with areas for food production and nature. Moreover, intensified land use reduces soil biodiversity and the resulting ecosystem services.

SOILSERVICE will value soil biodiversity through the impact on ecosystem services and propose how these values can be granted through payments.

SOILSERVICE will combine interdisciplinary empirical studies and soil biodiversity surveys to construct soil food web models and determine effects of changing soil biodiversity on stability and resilience of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling, as well as assess consequences for outbreaks of pests or invasive species.

SOILSERVICE will link ecological and economic models to develop a system for valuing soil biodiversity in relation to ecosystem services.

Objectives

  • Develop methods to value soil ecosystem services during different pressure of land use and changes in soil biodiversity.
  • Field and modelling studies will determine to what spatial and temporal scales soil biodiversity and soil ecosystem services are vulnerable to disturbance.
  • Detecting processes that indicate when ecosystems are approaching the limits of their natural functioning or productive capacity.
  • Establishing methods to determine and predict sustainability of ecosystem services at different types of land use.
  • Building scenarios to identify economical and social drivers of how land use such as biofuel production and land abandonment can influence soil biodiversity and ecosystem services over European scale.
  • Interacting with EU policies and strategies with results on which services are at threat and mitigating changes in soil biodiversity to achieve a sustainable use of soils. Our results contribute to a European knowledge-based competitive economy and to a future EU directive on soils.


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Publisher: Department of Biology

Last modified 3 Dec 2012

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