RECARE

Project

RECARE

Soils are of crucial importance for the well-being of human society as they provide a wide variety of functions. As soil formation is an extremely slow process, soil can be considered a non-renewable resource. A recent study indicates that in some places, soil is being lost 100 times faster than it forms. Soils should thus be adequately monitored, protected and conserved in order to ensure that these important soil functions are not lost or diminished.

Although there is a large body of knowledge available on soil threats in Europe, this knowledge is fragmented and incomplete, in particular regarding the complexity and functioning of soil systems and their interaction with human activities. The main aim of RECARE is to develop effective prevention, remediation and restoration measures using an innovative trans-disciplinary approach, actively integrating and advancing knowledge of stakeholders and scientists in 17 Case Studies, covering a range of soil threats in different bio-physical and socio-economic environments across Europe. Within these Case Study sites, i) the current state of degradation and conservation will be assessed using a new methodology, based on the WOCAT mapping procedure, ii) impacts of degradation and conservation on soil functions and ecosystem services will be quantified in a harmonized, spatially explicit way, accounting for costs and benefits, and possible trade-offs, iii) prevention, remediation and restoration measures selected and implemented by stakeholders in a participatory process will be evaluated regarding efficacy, and iv) the applicability and impact of these measures at the European level will be assessed using a new integrated bio-physical and socio-economic model, accounting for land use dynamics as a result of for instance economic development and policies. Existing national and EU policies will be reviewed and compared to identify potential incoherence, contradictions and synergies. Policy messages will be formulated based on the Case Study results and their integration at European level. A comprehensive dissemination and communication strategy, including the development of a web-based Dissemination and Communication Hub, will accompany the other activities to ensure that project results are disseminated to a variety of stakeholders at the right time and in the appropriate formats to stimulate renewed care for European soils.

Publications

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