Knowledge Base

The NBSOIL project will gather existing knowledge regarding nature-based solutions (NBS) for soils and how these can be beneficial for society. The knowledge base will showcase a portfolio of NBS for soil health addressing the EU Mission Soil objectives.

Nature-based solutions (NBS) use ecosystems and the services they provide to address societal challenges such as climate change, food security or natural disasters. IUCN defines NBS as actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

NBSOIL will focus on the following six multifunctional practices to test them as NBS to improve soil health in Europe.

Organic fertilizer

Organic fertilizers consist of plant or animal-based materials that result from byproducts or end products of naturally occurring processes, such as animal manure and composted organic matter. In the NBSOIL Project we consider organic fertilisers that produced from locally available biowastes and distributed based on proximity criteria. Organic fertilising comes with several benefits in soil health, plant growth and productivity and prevent the emission of CO2 from fossil fuel-derived fertilisers.

Cover crops

Cover crops are a close-growing crop that provides soil protection between periods of normal crop production. Cover crops can enhance soil conservation, climate resilience and improve soil health, all the while mitigating various environmental impacts linked to conventional soil management in agriculture.

Paludiculture

Peatlands are a type of wetland critical for climate change mitigation. Paludiculture is the productive land use of wet and rewetted peatlands that preserves the peat soil and thereby minimizes CO2 emissions and subsidence. The NBSOIL Project will focus on wet agriculture and forestry on peatlands, involving the rewetting of European temperate peatlands.

Bioremediation

Bioremediation is a process of detoxifying or degrading contaminants present in the soil, wastewater, or industrial sludge by biological means. Microorganisms, plants, microbial or plant enzymes can be used in this process, although plant-assisted bioremediation is often termed phytoremediation. The NBSOIL Project will focus on the application of this as an NBS in the field of brownfield redevelopment where it has great potential as most of the contaminated sites are not managed due to the high economic costs of recovering the soil.

Forest diversification

Forest diversification is the practice of managing forests to increase their biodiversity by introducing variability in its composition (multiple species and varieties), structure (mixed tree heights in mixed age stands and heterogeneous arrangement and density of the tree plantation) and genotypic complexity (diverse genetic sources). NBSOIL aims to boost moving away from clear-cutting timber harvesting and monoculture tree plantation to prevent erosion and landslides, improve water quality and increase resistance to wildfires and wind storms.

Blue-green infrastructure

Blue-green infrastructures are a strategically planned network of interrelated natural and semi-natural areas with environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. Blue (water) and green (land) can improve environmental conditions, support green economy and enhance climate change adaptation in cities as they provide evaporative cooling, rainwater infiltration surfaces, wind speed reduction and improve air quality.

Organic fertilizer

Organic fertilizers from locally available biowastes contain plant or animal-based materials that are either a byproduct or end product of naturally occurring processes, such as animal manure and composted organic materials and are distributed based on proximity criteria. The production of organic fertiliser within the NBSOIL Project will prevent the emission of CO2 from fossil fuel-derived fertilisers and other emissions due to incineration and landfilling.

Cover crops

Cover crops are a close-growing crop that provides soil protection, seeding protection, and soil health improvement between periods of normal crop production. They can decrease erosion and nitrate leaching and increase soil moisture, carbon sequestration, earthworm population and microbiome. Cover crops also contributes to control pests and diseases and rise the presence of pollinators.

Paludiculture

Peatlands are a type of wetland critical for climate change mitigation. Paludiculture is the productive land use of wet and rewetted peatlands that preserves the peat soil and thereby minimizes CO2 emissions and subsidence. The NBSOIL Project will focus on wet agriculture and forestry on peatlands, involving the rewetting of European temperate peatlands.

Bioremediation

Bioremediation is a process of detoxifying or degrading contaminants present in the soil, wastewater, or industrial sludge by biological means. Microorganisms, plants, microbial or plant enzymes can be used in this process, although plant-assisted bioremediation is often termed phytoremediation. The NBSOIL Project will focus on the application of this as an NBS in the field of brownfield redevelopment where it has great potential as most of the contaminated sites are not managed due to the high economic costs of recovering the soil.

Forest diversification

Forest diversification is the practice of managing forests to increase their biodiversity by introducing variability in its composition (multiple species and varieties), structure (mixed tree heights in mixed age stands and heterogeneous arrangement and density of the tree plantation) and genotypic complexity (diverse genetic sources). NBSOIL aims to boost moving away from clear-cutting timber harvesting and monoculture tree plantation to prevent erosion and landslides, improve water quality and increase resistance to wildfires and wind storms.

Green and blue infrastructure

Green and blue infrastructures are a strategically planned network of interrelated natural and semi-natural areas with environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. Green (land) and blue (water) can improve environmental conditions, support green economy and enhance climate change adaptation in cities as they provide evaporative cooling, rainwater infiltration surfaces, wind speed reduction and improve air quality.

Benefits

Organic fertilizer

Organic fertilizer

Cover crops

Cover crops

Paludiculture

Paludiculture

Bioremediation

Bioremediation

Forest
diversification

Forest diversification

Green and blue
infrastructure

Green and blue infrastructure

Reduce desertification

Conserve soil organic carbon stocks

Stop soil sealing

Reduce soil pollution

Prevent erosion

Improve soil structure to enhance soil biodiversity

Benefits

Organic fertilizer

Organic fertilizer

Improve soil structure to enhance soil biodiversity

Cover crops

Cover crops

Reduce desertification

Conserve soil organic carbon stocks

Reduce soil pollution

Prevent erosion

Improve soil structure to enhance soil biodiversity


Paludiculture

Paludiculture

Conserve soil organic carbon stocks

Improve soil structure to enhance soil biodiversity

Bioremediation

Bioremediation

Reduce desertification

Conserve soil organic carbon stocks

Prevent erosion

Improve soil structure to enhance soil biodiversity

Forest diversification

Forest diversification

Stop soil sealing

Reduce soil pollution

Green and blue infrastructure

Green and blue infrastructure

Stop soil sealing