The SOILGUARD project envisions a future where soil biodiversity conservation secures the environmental, economic, and social well-being of European biogeographical regions. The escalating threat of land degradation and soil biodiversity loss due to unsustainable practices and climate change underscores the need for immediate action. Central to this is adopting sustainable soil management practices and recognising soil biodiversity as a crucial nature-based solution against land degradation and climate stressors. However, addressing these challenges hinges on bridging significant knowledge gaps related to soil biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people.
SOILGUARD embarks on a mission to co-create a novel conceptual and analytical framework with the potential to become the global standard for assessing soil biodiversity status and its contributions to multifunctional soil behaviour and human well-being. This innovative framework will undergo validation through a pioneering experimental design, encompassing various study sites across biomes and land degradation gradients, coupled with in-situ climate change simulations. This comprehensive approach generates robust evidence to fill knowledge gaps and quantify the implications of unsustainable soil management on the environment, economy, and society.
The insights generated will be disseminated through the SOILGUARDIANS platform—an advanced predictive tool rooted in the intricate links between soil biodiversity, multifunctional soil performance, and overall well-being. This tool empowers stakeholders in their transition to sustainable soil management practices. The synergy of the SOILGUARD Network of Knowledge and the interactive potential of the SOILGUARDIANS app creates an innovation ecosystem, facilitating experience sharing and continuous learning.
SOILGUARD’s endeavours aim to collaboratively formulate evidence-based conservation recommendations, influencing European and international policy frameworks. Moreover, the project aligns with Member States’ commitments under the Global Soil Partnership, amplifying its global impact. With support from influential entities, strives to elevate soil biodiversity protection, spearheading sustainable practices and fostering a more resilient planet.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Grant Agreement no. 101000371.