Work Package 5

Work Package 5 (WP5): Impacts of soil biodiversity on crop production and other ecosystem services

Leader: UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE CARTAGENA (Spain). S. Martínez Martínez.

Deputy Leader: Thünen-Institute (Germany)

The WP5 objective is to provide sound and robust scientific understanding of the impacts of sustainable management practices and cropping systems on the improvement in soil biodiversity and how this is related to crop production (yield and quality) and other ecosystem services such as soil fertility and carbon sequestration in the different pedoclimatic regions.

This WP also aims to produce industrial innovation by testing of new plant growth promoting products based on formulations of soil microorganisms in order to reduce fertilizer application in crops and promote crop growth and development by development of soil microorganisms In particular, this WP aims to evaluate how cropping systems that foster soil biodiversity can:

  • Effectively enhance genetic and functional microbial diversity, with decreases in soil-borne diseases.
  • Effectively increase the diversity of biological regulators (nematodes) and ecosystem engineers (earthworms).
  • Increase crop growth and yield and reduce the incidence of pests/diseases.
  • Improve crop quality and nutritional characteristics.
  • Improve soil fertility retaining nutrients in the soil, preventing them from leaching and increasing the plant cover and thus reducing soil erosion.
  • Improve soil structure and quality, increase soil C sequestration, foster natural soil functioning and promote the formation of stable aggregates that improve water infiltration, root penetration and water-holding capacity of the soil.
  • Optimise use of agrochemical and tillage.
  • Reduce GHG emissions.

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