Sustainable Agriculture and Soil: comparative study of strategies for managing the integrated quality of agricultural soils in different regions of Europe / Belgium, France, Netherlands
1-10-2011 – 15-9-2013

Soil functions and ecosystem services
Sustainable agriculture and forestry

Parties involved:

  • Lead organization: Mutadis, France
  • Research partner organization: Association pour le DEveloppement et la Promotion de la Recherche et de l’Innovation à AGROPARISTECH, France
  • Research partner organization: Université de Liège, Belgium
  • Research partner organization: Sol et Civilisation, France
  • Research partner organization: Boerenverstand, The NetherlandsAIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF SAS-STRAT
    The project aims at identifying, describing and analysing conditions and means for a sustainable management of cultivated soils in Europe, that takes into account a variety of current or potential qualities of these soils, including and beside agricultural production.
  • The objectives of the research project are to :
  •  explore what are the different qualities that constitute the integrated agricultural soil quality (e.g. support for economical activities and income generation, including agriculture ; land planning ; property as a place where to exert its individual freedom and as a patrimony to hand down ; environmental compartment and object of ecosystem services transactions; vector of chemical quality of our environment and health, etc.)
  • describe regional governance approaches experimented in Belgium, France and the Netherlands in the European context to improve the integrated quality of agricultural soil (case studies)
  • analyse the conditions for an integration of new soil challenges (biodiversity, climate change, ecosystemic, cultural, identity and social… services) in agricultural soil
    – analyse the successes and failures of the regional approaches for integrated quality of cultivated soil
    – from an analysis of the relations between local, national and European governance framework, outline the conditions for a better multi-level governance framework for the quality of cultivated soil
  • establish a community of stakeholders involved in integrated quality of soil, at local, regional, national and European level (Belgium, France, Netherlands, EU), and a first group of researchers-experts involved on integrated soil quality
  • analyse with stakeholders the lessons learnt from the case studies investigated, consider the value  of these experiences for the wider community, and develop in cooperation with stakeholders recommendations for the development of integrated approach, combining regional and local initiatives, national and EU policy
  • This research will be developed in strong cooperation with stakeholders, who will contribute with their own expertise on integrated soil quality. This very nature of cooperative research will ensure a proper dissemination of the research, by sharing the knowledge of existing local, national and European approaches, and by involving key stakeholders in the production of research and recommendations.

The results of this project will highlight fundamental elements about how to positively take into account the different qualities the concerned stakeholders relate to the soil into an integrative and multiple stakeholders soil management strategy. Doing so, it will fit the objectives of the call topics 1 and 2 by outlining ways of integrating soil ecosystem services into decision making and governance ; analysing and providing recommendations on methodologies and strategies to build a multiple stakeholder and multiple quality decision making ; outlining solutions for a more sustainable agriculture and agricultural management.

The results of the project will contribute to define the modalities of integration of soil functions and services at the different levels of decision-making and governance. They will notably illustrate and analyse how innovative arrangements between companies, governments, citizens and social organisations can ensure that both individual and social values (multi-actor) are adequately included in the assessment and decision-making processes. They will describe and analyse how to deal with complexity and uncertainty in the natural and social systems in decision-making processes.

Research coordinator SAS-STRAT: Gilles Heriard Dubreuil,  Mutadis France 

 Project Deliverables


 Peer-reviewed publications

Sonneveld, M. P. W., Heuvelink, G. B. M., & Moolenaar, S. W. (2014). Application of a visual soil examination and evaluation technique at site and farm level. Soil use and management, 30(2), 263-271.