WP3 will provide a critical review of existing soil quality indicator systems all over the world, and mine the existing soil and crop-related data from more than 30 long-term European and Chinese field trials to identify the best subset of measurements to be used to develop an aggregate index of agricultural soil quality underpinning soil-based ecosystem services. The European field trials are carried out in three different climatic zones (Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Continental). Knowledge gaps identified during screening of (data underlying) existing indicator systems and early development of SQAPP will be identified.

Activities will include: i) conducting a critical review of existing concepts of soil quality indicators; ii) documenting existing field trials across various pedo-climatic zones in Europe and China so as to compile a database of research results, identify the most cost-effective indicators, (according to appropriate measures of cost-efficiency), in terms of sensitivity to indicate soil threats, soil functions and land potential, and identify knowledge gaps; iii) assessing how soil type, climatic zone, topography and crop and land management interact to affect indicators of soil quality; and iv) screening and evaluating a range of newly developed indicators of soil quality in long-term trials.

This WP will deliver a critical review of existing concepts of soil quality indicators and their sensitivity to indicate soil threats and soil functions and interactions with management as well as reliability and simplicity of measurement (TRL1).

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