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

Wheat field in early spring (Photo: Dominika Kundel)

Humans depend on agriculture and agriculture depends on soil organisms. Soil organisms provide fundamental ecosystem services in agriculture such as decomposition and mineralisation, that make nitrogen and phosphorous available for crop uptake. Agricultural intensification reduces the diversity of soil organisms with consequences for the provision of ecosystem services from agricultural soils. In the future, the provision of soil ecosystem services will be impacted by a changing climate and its interactions with management practices. SOILCLIM addresses the pressing need to better predict consequences of climate change on soil biodiversity and ecosystem services in agroecosystems.

Major climate change models predict changing rainfall patterns, with reduced summer rain. SOILCLIM will study the effects of reduced rainfall on soil biodiversity and ecosystem services over a European transect of climatic conditions and soil properties and under different long-term fertilization strategies. Farmers and policy makers can use results from these studies to identify threats to agricultural soils and to reduce the negative consequences of climate change for agricultural production in the future.

SOILCLIM is a BiodivERsA project and is a collaboration between research groups in five European countries; Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Switzerland and Spain. The project started in January 2017 and will continue for 3 years.

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German funding council

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Swiss funding body

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