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Research projects

Soil Ecology

Current research projects:

BECC – Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate (at CEC's web)

BECC is a strategic research area hosted by the Faculty of Science at Lund University that strives for a better understanding of the impacts of climate change and land use decisions on terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity, addressing the consequences of ecosystem changes for human beings and socio-economic systems. The vision of BECC is to evolve interdisciplinary research approaches that contribute to the sustainable management of ecosystems and biodiversity in a rapidly changing world.

NATURVATION – NATure-based URban innovation (at CEC's web)

Nature-based solutions are actions that are inspired by, supported by or copied from nature. They have the potential to address urban challenges, as climate change, in a sustainable way while contributing to economic activities and social well-being. To unlock the potential of nature-based solutions for sustainable urban development, NATURVATION takes a transdisciplinary, internationally comparative approach to capture the multiple impacts and values of these solutions. The project has three main objectives: advance assessment approaches, enable innovations and realise the potential of nature-based solutions. NATURVATION is a Horizon 2020 EU project that started in November 2016.

SOILCLIM – Managing soil biodiversity and ecosystem services in agroecosystems across Europe under climate change

The overall aim of SOILCLIM is to understand consequences of a changing climate on soil life and functions in agricultural soils. Soil organisms provide fundamental ecosystem services for agriculture, such as nutrient cycling. The provision of soil ecosystem services from agricultural soils will, in the future, be impacted by changing climate and their interactions with management intensity. SOILCLIM aim is to provide evidence of how to counteract negative consequences of climate change on agricultural production. SOILCLIM is a three-year long Biodiversa project that started in January 2017.

Urban Nature (at CEC's web)

Nature based solutions are defined to be inspired by, supported by or copied from nature and have recently been proposed by practitioners and policy makers, as solutions to urban challenges such as urbanization and climate change. The overall aim of the project is to investigate the ability of nature based solutions to simultaneously meet different urban challenges such as climate change and public well-being. Urban Nature is a five-year long project that started in December 2016, funded by Formas.

Previous research projects:

Ecofinders – Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils (at ESDAC's web)

Soils host a huge biodiversity of which our understanding remains very limited. The EcoFINDERS aim was to 1) Increase our knowledge of soil biodiversity and its role in ecosystem services across different soils, climate types and land uses. 2) Standardise methods and operating procedures for characterizing soil biodiversity and functioning, and the development of bioindicators. 3) Assessment of the added value brought by cost-effective bioindicators, and of cost effectiveness of alternative ecosystem service maintenance policies. Ecofinders was funded by EU's Seventh Framework Programme 2011-2014.

ECO-SERVE (own website)

Eco-Serve aimed to evaluate alternatives to current agricultural systems that confer adaptation to the agro-ecological conditions that are changing due to increased rainfall variability under climate change. The Eco-Serve project aimed for in-depth understanding of the ecological processes that are important for water and nutrient use efficiency. We proposed that trait-based understanding of the influence of the vegetation and the soil biota on plant litter and soil organic matter will allow farmers to manage ecosystem services for adaptation to climate-induced changes in drought and rainfall frequencies and intensities. Stakeholder interactions was instrumental to assess the feasibility of proposed management alternatives. Eco-Serve was a Biodiversa project 2014-2017.

Effects of farming methods on organic carbon content of arable soils - Systematic Review (at Mistra EviEM's web)

Agricultural land has great potential to store carbon. With the right choice of cultivation methods and cropping systems, it can be transformed from a source of greenhouse gases into a sink for carbon dioxide. EviEM has completed a systematic map examining the evidence relating to how different farming methods affect the amounts of organic carbon in arable soils.

Functional Diversity of Carbon Cycling Microbes in Soil through Metagenomics

Future increased agricultural management for production of food and biofuels will intensify production that may impair the carbon sequestration in the soil and increase release of carbon to the atmosphere due to actions by the microorganisms responsible for carbon cycling in agricultural soils. Global climate projections depend today on models that estimate the carbon fluxes from soils under land use and climate change. Despite the known importance of soil microorganisms we lack knowledge of the mechanisms involved and the genetic identity of the key microbial actors of carbon cycling in soils. The aim of this project was to determine the functional diversity of microorganisms on gene level that is directly affecting carbon cycling in agricultural soils. The project was funded by FORMAS 2011-2013.

Liberation – Linking farmland biodiversity to ecosystem services for effective eco-functional intensification (own website)

The project aimed to provide the evidence-base for the potential of ecological intensification to sustainably enhance food security with minimal negative impacts on the environment. This required a basic insight in how biodiversity contributes to various ecosystem services and subsequently how ecosystem services contribute to yield and farm income. Ecofinders was funded by EU's Seventh Framework Programme 2013-2017.

SAPES – Multifunctional Agriculture: Sustaining Agricultural Production and Ecosystem Services (at CEC's web)

SAPES was an interdisciplinary research project that aimed to determine the consequences of agricultural land-use at multiple scales on biodiversity, and the ability of interacting above- and below-ground communities of organisms to produce ecosystem services. The Soil Ecology Group investigated how different agricultural practices (e.g. conventional versus organic management) affect the delivery of soil ecosystem services, and the biomass and composition of the soil microbial community. Through this we developed production functions of soil ecosystem services. The project was funded by FORMAS 2010-2015.


SOILSERVICE made quantitative scenarios of long-term land use change across Europe and determined how soil biodiversity and soil nutrients can be retained at intensive use of agricultural soils. We made predictions that link economy together with production (food vs. biofuel), land use, soil biodiversity and sustainability. This information can be used by a broad range of decision and policy makers within the European community for future development of EU biofuel , agricultural and soil policies. SOILSERVICE was funded by EU's Seventh Framework Programme 2008-2012.

VESA – Valuing ecosystem services in agriculture (at CEC's web)

The goal of the project was to develop multi-level decision support tools, able to visualise the ecological and economic potential consequences of different alternative management options and policies on the value of ecosystem services given uncertainty about the future. Such support tools aimed to help farmers and decision makers to assess which management actions and combinations of policies will best promote achievement of long term sustainable food and bioenergy production systems. VESA was financed by the Swedish Environmental protection Agency 2014-2016.

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greenhouse experiments