EU policy tools for optimising soil functions – Pillar 3


The work done by the Pillar 3 team aimed to provide an assessment of policy tools for optimising the supply of soil functions at EU scale. The partners of the LANDMARK consortium have developed the concept of Functional Land Management (Schulte et al., 2014): this is a framework for matching the supply of, and demand for, soil functions at large spatial scales. Examples include changes in land management practices to incentivise intensive food production on fertile soils (to meet global dietary requirements), to support nutrient provision/cycling (with relevance for resource use efficiency), to maintain the demand for water purification (in order to meet the WFD requirements) and to meet the need for soil carbon sequestration (to contribute to EU GHG reduction targets).

LANDMARK used European databases to define sets of proxy indicators for the five groups of soil functions. These functions have been assessed across the same land use x soil type matrix used for the development of the Soil Navigator DSS in Pillar 1 and the monitoring schema for soil functions in Pillar 2.

The policy options build on the following:


This policy-oriented Pillar 3 is led by Dr Arwyn Jones (European Commission DG JRC): Jan Staes and Dirk Vrebos (UA), Rogier Schulte (WUR), Lilian O’Sullivan (TEAGASC).  The work includes input from Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 teams. This Pillar has an intercontinental perspective, as it involved the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Sao Paulo to facilitate shared learning on a range of incentivisation programmes and implementation schemes for soil management.

Assessment of Policy Instruments (Task5.5)

Led by Pillar 3 Leader Arwyn Jones (JRC ) in collaboration with Lilian O’Sullivan (Teagasc), Victoria Ballester (USP) and Gan Lin Zhang (CAS)

A scientific review paper on the intercontinental ‘shared learning’ re soil policies is under review..

Publication tree

Open Innovation (Task5.6)

Led by Pillar 3 Leader Arwyn Jones (EC JRC)

11  Policy options for functional land and soil management launched during the LANDMARK Final Policy Conference the 23rd of October 2019 in Bruxelles, Belgium.