New Project SOB4ES – Eurice Expands Portfolio on Biodiversity under the EU Mission: A Soil Deal for Europe
Eurice is taking a significant step forward in promoting innovative research-based approaches to enhance and safeguard soil biodiversity through participation in the just-launched EU research project SOB4ES (Integrating SOil Biodiversity to Ecosystem Services).
The goal of the EU Soil Strategy is that by 2050, all soils in the EU should be healthy. This means that soils continuously provide as many ecosystem services in the greatest variety as possible. However, in order to make progress, it is essential to fully integrate soil biodiversity in land management and planning. Currently, with only 30-40% of healthy soils present, soil biodiversity receives little attention in large monitoring efforts when compared to aboveground diversity such as higher plants and vertebrates. Consequently, the contribution soil biodiversity makes to ecosystem services is vastly overlooked, not objectively quantifiable, invisible to society, and lacks integration into EU regulations and policy instruments.
SOB4ES strives to address these shortcomings by developing an integrated framework that fully includes soil biodiversity contribution to ecosystem services across relevant spatial and temporal scales. The consortium will also test the cost-effectiveness of soil biodiversity indicators that reliably reflect the effects of land management on the delivery of ecosystem services under a range of land use conditions representative for Europe, including soils from urban, agriculture, forest, (semi)-natural, wetlands, drylands, industrial and mining environments.
"Soil health provides the foundation for the future of sustainable land management. The Eurice team is delighted to provide their expertise in facilitating collaborative research and innovation endeavours to SOB4ES and making European society aware of the topic of soil biodiversity and its contribution to ecosystem services while promoting the integration of the topic into EU policies. This research significantly contributes to elevating healthy soil levels to the commitments and targets as set out by the European Green Deal," says Dr Chiara Lonoce, Research and Innovation Manager at Eurice.
Over the next five years, the SOB4ES project will be funded with EUR 7.2 million from the European Union's Horizon Europe programme and additional contributions from the Governments of Switzerland and the UK, totalling EUR 1.2 million.