| Project objectives:
Describe the diversity of soil organisms (microorganisms and fauna).
Decipher their interactions through trophic nets (subsequently called food webs).
Determine the role played by soil organisms in soil functioning and the delivery of major ecosystem services: nutrient cycling, carbon storage, water retention,
soil structure regulation, resistance to pests and diseases, and regulation of above-ground diversity.
Assess the stability and resilience of ecosystem biodiversity against threats: soil erosion and physical degradation, decline in organic content, and
Develop and standardise tools and procedures to measure microbial and faunal diversity.
Establish high-throughput molecular assays for assessing microbial and faunal diversity.
Customise functional tools and methods to determine the functional diversity of fauna.
Design, develop and establish a database aimed at mapping the European soil biodiversity and threats.
Economics and policy objectives
Establish cost-effective bioindicators to assess microbial and faunal diversity, their associated functions and the resulting ecosystem services.
Evaluate the economic added-value brought by these bioindicators in assessing the consequences of soil management policy for soil biodiversity and functioning.
Implement dissemination strategies to transfer the project result to soil stakeholders; notably but not exclusively regional, national and European
policy-makers, and inform the general public about the issues associated with the sustainability of soil biodiversity.
The strategic goal of EcoFINDERS is to support European Union soil policy making by providing the necessary tools to design and implement strategies for sustainable
use of soils, including:
Characterisation of the biodiversity of European soils and the normal operating range (NOR) according to soil types, threats, climatic zones and land uses.
Determination of relationships between soil biodiversity, functioning and ecosystem services.
Quantification of the economic values of soil ecosystem services.
Evaluation of the impacts of human activities on soil biodiversity, functioning and services.
Design of policy-relevant and cost-effective indicators for monitoring soil biodiversity, functioning and ecosystem services.