A key challenge for sustainable intensification of agriculture is to produce increasing amounts of food for a growing world population, with minimal loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. In order to facilitate ecological intensification of agriculture, the underlying principles need to be understood and validated in farmers’ fields
Therefore, the Vital Soils project aims at:
1) assessing changes in biological, chemical and physical soil properties in organic vs. conventional arable fields and how these properties develop over time since conversion from conventional to organic farming
2) understanding the relation between these properties and soil functioning
The central focus will be on the role of soil organisms and soil organic matter dynamics in controlling soil functioning, and how this relation can be controlled by farm management.
Results will be synthesized in order to develop predictors and indicators of successful soil conversion, and disseminated to farmers through farmers’ organizations.