Good soil quality is of fundamental importance to both local and global food production and to ecosystem resilience. Agricultural soils world-wide are subject to threats and pressures including: increasing demand for food and biofuels, changing diets, land degradation and associated productivity decline, all made worse by climate change. Reliable knowledge and data help land users assess their soils and make well-informed decisions about its use. When information on alternative land use practices is easily available, it supports farmers in improving their land management.
The EU-funded H2020 »iSQAPER Project aims to provide: interactive soil quality assessment in Europe and China for agricultural productivity and environmental resilience; providing decision makers with science-based, easy to apply and cost-effective tools to manage soil quality and function. This iSQAPERiS website contains the comprehensive scientific results of iSQAPER as presented in the project deliverables.
iSQAPERiS is structured in 7 main themes as shown in the flower diagram below. Our central product SQAPP: the soil quality assessment app was developed through a research programme investigating soil quality indicators, pedo-climatic zones and farming systems and sustainable land management practices. By upscaling the results we can examine the consequences of widespread implementation of land management practices. We provide recommendations for integrating and promoting soil quality and sustainable land management into policy. In addition to the detailed research results a number of key messages are provided for a range of stakeholders including farmers, advisors, policy makers and researchers in succinct formats.
Good soil quality is of fundamental importance to both local and global food production and to ecosystem resilience, but how do we define and measure soil quality and the impact that management practices have on it?
Setting a new standard in soil quality assessment - iSQAPER has built an app for mobile devices to use anywhere in the world, providing location-specific soil quality information and sustainable land use management options.
Recommendations for the integration of activities that promote soil quality and sustainable land management into regional, national and EU level policies.
Booklets, factsheets and video clips provide information about soil quality in succinct and easy to read formats.
Pedoclimatic zones are areas of relatively homogenous soil type and climate conditions. There may be several such zones in a single country. Using farming systems that optimise the use of available soil and climate resources, that are well matched to the pedoclimatic zone, should contribute to long-term sustainable agricultural productivity.
Empirical evidence for the effects of agricultural management practices on soil quality, shared between farmers and scientists.
In this section of iSQAPERiS we upscale the effect of agricultural management practices on representative farming systems, to evaluate the soil environmental footprint in Europe and China.