RECARE: Preventing and Remediating degradation of soils in Europe through Land Care

Project acronym: RECARE
Project full title: Preventing and Remediating degradation of soils in Europe through Land Care 
Instrument: Collaborative Large Integrated Project (IP) 
Start: 01/11/2013, End: 31/10/018, Duration: 60m; 
Consortium: 27 partners 
Project Coordinator:Wageningen University, the Netherlands
Project Web Site



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Project Summary

The main aim of RECARE is to develop effective prevention, remediation and restoration measures using an innovative transdisciplinary approach, actively integrating and advancing knowledge of stakeholders and scientists in 17 Case Studies, covering a range of soil threats in different bio-physical and socio-economic environments across Europe.

Due to growing human intervention and unsustainable management, soils are currently under increasing threat from a wide range of processes, such as soil erosion, compaction, desertification, salinization, sealing, contamination and loss of organic matter and biodiversity. They need to be adequately protected and conserved to ensure that their many functions and services to all of society are not lost or diminished.  

With the importance of soil in mind, the EU has funded this 5 year research project which will be looking at measures to prevent and remediate soil degradation in Europe.  Researchers from 27 different organisations will share information regarding the current evidence and approaches to resolve the main threats to soils. As well as making people aware of the threats to soil, the scientists involved in the project are working with those who manage soils - farmers, planners, builders, policy makers – to identify practical measures to ensure that these urgent threats are not just stopped, but whenever possible, reversed.

Rudi Hessel, representing RECARE said. "Often all we hear about is the problems that the environment faces, but the good news is that in projects like RECARE we are not only developing practical answers, but also working with those who manage the soil to get these solutions into use. We all tend to take soil for granted, until something goes wrong and we then need urgent answers. Part of our task in RECARE is to help stop it going wrong in the first place, but when that doesn't happen to ensure that we have the best solutions we can develop ready to hand".

More specifically, within the Case Study sites, i) the current state of degradation and conservation will be assessed using a new methodology, based on the WOCAT mapping procedure, ii) impacts of degradation and conservation on soil functions and ecosystem services will be quantified in a harmonized, spatially explicit way, accounting for costs and benefits, and possible trade-offs, iii) prevention, remediation and restoration measures selected and implemented by stakeholders in a participatory process will be evaluated regarding efficacy, and iv) the applicability and impact of these measures at the European level will be assessed using a new integrated bio-physical and socio-economic model, accounting for land use dynamics as a result of for instance economic development and policies. Existing national and EU policies will be reviewed and compared to identify potential incoherence, contradictions and synergies. Policy messages will be formulated based on the Case Study results and their integration at European level. A comprehensive dissemination and communication strategy, including the development of a web-based Dissemination and Communication Hub, will accompany the other activities to ensure that project results are disseminated to a variety of stakeholders at the right time and in the appropriate formats to stimulate renewed care for European soils.

Detailed description of RECARE project

Find more detailed information in the RECARE Hub:

Milestones - Important outpouts

WP2 Deliverable: Soil threats in Europe: Status, methods, drivers and effects on ecosystem services

One of the objectives of WP2 (Base for RECARE data collection and methods) is to provide an improved overview of existing information on soil threats and degradation at the European scale. The report is written by a group of experts from the RECARE team, coordinated by Bioforsk. In total, 60 persons were included in the process of writing, reviewing and editing the report. Eleven soil threats were identified for the report. These soil threats are soil erosion by water, soil erosion by wind, decline of organic matter (OM) in peat, decline of OM in minerals soils, soil compaction, soil sealing, soil contamination, soil salinization, desertification, flooding and landslides and decline in soil biodiversity.


JRC role - WP10 leader

JRC, Land Resources Management Unit is the leader of the WP10 "Data use, Management and hosting" and has also a certain involvement in the modelling activities of the project. As WP leader JRC has to develop a data repository which will manage the data of the project and will be hosted in the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) beyond the RECARE lifecycle. This data infrastructure is a cornerstone for the project as it has to facilitate partners in uploading their data through a web interface and modelers getting their input for modelling purposes (17 case studies across Europe for 11 soil threats).

Fin a brief description of the project in the relevant Poster: RECARE: Finding and sharing solutions to protect our soils

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Title: Maps of Soil Chemical properties at European scale based on LUCAS 2009/2012 topsoil data
Resource Type: Datasets, European Soil Database & soil properties
Registration requested: Request Form
Year: 2019
Publisher: European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Language: en