Project information
Building a European Network for the Characterisation and Harmonisation of Monitoring Approaches for Research and Knowledge on Soils (BENCHMARKS)

Project Identification
Project Period
1/2023 - 12/2027
Investor / Pogramme / Project type
European Union
MU Faculty or unit
Faculty of Science
Cooperating Organization
Wageningen University

Soil health is crucial for challenges related to climate, environment and society. As such, this Soil Mission proposal directly links in to the other HE missions, as well as to the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategies. Both public and private sectors are proposing a sustainable vision, that depends on a reliable assessment of the effects of management and policy innovations on soil health. Therefore, there is an urgent need to ensure that the EU sets the benchmark of a reliable cost-effective framework for measuring soil health.

In alignment with existing initiatives such as EU Soil Observatory, EJP Soil and the LUCAS Topsoil survey, the BENCHMARKS consortium will co-design a flexible, transparent and multi-scale framework for the selection of appropriate soil health indicators, using open science approaches. This framework will build upon the assessment of soil-based ecosystem functions to produce an interactive soil health dashboard suitable at different scales for relevant stakeholders. Working with stakeholders representing urban, agricultural and forestry land use systems, BENCHMARKS will support policy development and value-chain innovation through identifying appropriate key performance indicators for healthier soils. BENCHMARKS indicators are relevant to the stakeholder’s objectives at local value chain, national, European and global levels, applicable to the land use systems and pedo-climatic zone and appropriate in terms of logistical, financial and sensitivity requirements. To inform on the appropriate spatial resolution of indicators, BENCHMARKS will test the selected soil health indicators, including sample-based measurements, stats (databases and model derived measurements), space (earth observation techniques) and citizen science observations, at three spatial extents (local, landscape and regional) in 15 regional living labs across Europe.

Sustainable Development Goals

Masaryk University is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to improve the conditions and quality of life on our planet by 2030.

Sustainable Development Goal No.  2 – Zero hunger Sustainable Development Goal No.  3 – Good health and well-being Sustainable Development Goal No.  11 – Sustainable cities and communities Sustainable Development Goal No.  13 – Climate action Sustainable Development Goal No.  15 – Life on land Sustainable Development Goal No.  17 – Partnerships for the goals

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