Although monitoring the degradation of soil quality has progressed, less has been achieved to reverse soil degradation.
About two billion people and 1.9 billion hectares of land are affected by land degradation globally, with an estimated cost to the global economy between $18-20 trillion USD annually. The European Commission estimates that current management practices result in approximately 60-70% of EU soils being unhealthy, with a further uncertain percentage of unhealthy soils due to poorly quantified pollution issues.
Multiple comprehensive EU and Chinese initiatives recognise the challenge of increasing agricultural production to supply the growing demands for healthy and sustainable food, while at the same time conserving their soil resource base.
TUdi integrates complementary needs regarding stakeholders as well as expertise regarding agronomy, soil management, fertilization practices, soil science, digital farming, soil conservation, and socioeconomics to address the challenges and scope of the topic “Healthy soils for healthy food production”. The project will design, test and deliver a set of tools to allow farmers, technicians, companies and government agents to carry out those strategies at farm level tailoring the techniques to local conditions.
Location and description of the long-term monitored areas for the TUdi network. Number in circles indicates number of monitored area by country
TUdi is a Horizon 2020 project that aims to develop, upscale and popularise soil healing strategies in three major agricultural systems and farm typologies across Europe, China and New Zealand. The project will develop healthy and productive agricultural ecosystems, which are among the most challenging UN development goals for 2030, including zero hunger, no poverty, climate action and life on land. In order to do this, TUdi relies on 15 research institutions and SMEs from all over the world, as well as a network of 42 cooperating stakeholder organisations and 66 long-term experiments and monitored farms in the participating countries.
TUdi's specific objectives are to:
WP1 will: 1) identify and select a subset of farms for targeted work programmes within other WPs, based on a substantial resource of diverse management approaches including organic farming and agro-ecology; 2) design an accessible and functional database of cooperative farms and experimental areas with long-term experience of soil restoring management. The major outcome of WP1 will be a common meta-database that enables data and information exchange among partners and cooperators, which will be open outside of the consortium at the end of the project.
WP2 objectives are to: 1) provide underpinning science to develop solid strategies for planning and implementing strategies for enhancing the quality of soils for food production and the provision of ecosystems services; 2) increase farmer awareness of how fertilization choices affect crops and soil environment health; 3) provide farmers and other stakeholders with robust, flexible but simple tools to put in action soil restoring and improved fertilization practices.
This WP aims to to develop and test methods and strategies to: 1) improve soil health and resilience to future perturbations by better understanding the potential and role of vegetation аs cover crops; 2) develop a comprehensive set of soil restoration strategies across diverse environments using vegetation traits as the main tool; 3) Validate simplified soil health indexes for stakeholder use. To achieve this, WP3 will use EU-Chinese networks of experimental and ‘real world’ farmscapes to test strategies to restore degraded soils under different systems, and EU-China degradation-restoration gradients to improve understanding of crop-soil trait relationships.
Among the priorities of WP4 is to benchmark the economic and social sustainability, including gender dimensions, of the soil restoration strategies for the three cropping systems and farm typologies covered by the project. Outcomes of the WP will be a systematic cost benefit analysis for a broad range of technologies in different cropping systems and farm typologies, with their implications at larger regional scales identified for policy makers, allowing their inclusion in agricultural and environmental policies.
The objective of this WP is to coordinate national networks of scientists and cooperators engaged in TUdi and harmonise their interactions within an international network. In this network the interaction with farmers will be based in periodic workshops and field days with members of this network. The main outcomes of this WP will be: 1) soil restoration and fertilization strategies (and accompanying supporting tools) developed and tested in the project that have been co-created with end users and other relevant stakeholders; 2) to provide trained farmers, technical advisors and scientists to transition agriculture towards sustainable soil management in the three regions of the project.
The project will be managed by the EU coordinator in partnership with the Chinese co-leader, supported by a management team and overseen by an international advisory board comprising leading scientists. Objectives of WP6 will be to: 1) support and review project progress against objectives and milestones; 2) ensure an appropriate handling of administrative responsibilities and any ethical related issue; 3) ensure strong communications between all partners; 4) reinforce all WPs by providing additional support; 5) coordinate actions aimed to promote diversity and inclusivity in the project; 6) ensure that gender dimensions are properly addressed; 7) Oversee the data management, IPR, and exploitation activities; and 8) Coordinate communication activities outside of the consortium and raise public awareness of the importance of soil as a finite global resource.
TUdi is a natural continuation of the SHui project. Co-funded by the European Commission and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) under the H2020 program, they are both aimed at improving the agricultural sector and provide sustainability to farmers and soils.
The overall aim of SHui is to deliver a suite of technologies and tools to empower individuals and stakeholder organisations to make informed decisions to manage water scarcity in European and Chinese cropping systems, and consolidating an integrated research platform for the coming decade across EU and China. The SHui consortium combined expertise across multiple disciplines (agronomy, irrigation technology, digital agriculture, hydrology, soil and water conservation, remote sensing, plant physiology, soil science and socio-economics), and within cognate cropping systems, across the EU and China.
At the same time, TUdi aims to develop, upscale and popularise soil healing strategies in three major agricultural systems and farm typologies across Europe, China and New Zealand. The project will develop healthy and productive agricultural ecosystems, which are among the most challenging UN development goals for 2030, including zero hunger, no poverty, climate action and life on land.
Onsite training (8):
Video training (11):