Between 60 and 70% of european soils are severely or moderately degraded due to compaction, contamination, erosion, and loss of organic matter. According to the EC, soil degradation costs more than 50 billion euros per year only in the EU, and the global cost ranges from 5 to 8 trillion per year. Soil is a critical link between global environmental problems such as climate change, water management, and biodiversity loss. At the same time, it is an essential non-renewable resource for agriculture, providing the foundation for producing food and other resources necessary for the circular economy.
InBestSoil will evaluate several critical soil functions, “from fiber and food production to its role in preserving cultural heritage.” The project will provide data, evidence, tools, and models to assess how economic investment in soil health can contribute to the transition to a resilient long-term environment and sustainable use of soil, using 6 Lighthouse and 3 Living Labs, providing a total of 9 study areas in 4 biogeographical regions of Europe (boreal, continental, Atlantic, Mediterranean), and different land uses (agricultural, forestry, urban, mining), as co-creation and co-design models (multi-actor approach, responsible research and innovation, and open science).
The analysis of different regions and techniques, involving all stakeholders, will allow the scaling of results and their internationalization, facilitating investments in soil health for companies, public administrations, and investment groups around the world.