The options of farmers to respond to rainfall variability differ between agro-ecological zones of Europe in terms of changing crop or cultivar choices, agricultural systems and soil management.
A common, central element is that the ways farmers can influence water infiltration and storage are closely related to how crop and residue management influence soil organic matter and, hence, carbon, nutrient and water loss or storage in soil and associated water and nutrient use efficiencies. In that sense, organic matter management is central in coping with increased variability of droughts and rainfall.
Depending on whether water deficit or surplus situations will become more prevalent, management of soil organic matter for higher water-holding capacity versus water infiltration will be more important.
The objectives of ECO-SERVE are to evaluate:
By focusing on the (diversity of) relevant traits, trait combinations and trait attributes rather than (the diversity of) species of plants and soil organisms, the acquired knowledge is generic, and ultimately applicable to different agro-ecological conditions in Europe.
Eco-serve considerably increased our mechanistic understanding of how the interplay between crop litter quality and soil management in determining soil organic matter quality and quantity affects water repellence and nutrient retention and supply of the soil. This increased understanding is based on acquiring a better insight of how crop traits as well as microbial and faunal traits, abundance and catabolic activity are related to the quality and quantity of organic matter in soil.
*At the time of the proposal. Please consider this data as an accurate estimate; it may vary during the project’s lifespan.
Total costs include in kind contribution by grant holders and can therefore be higher than the total requested funding.