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Division of Environment and Natural Resources


Finished Last updated: 01.07.2019
End: mar 2019
Start: apr 2016
Intensify production, transform biomass to energy and novel goods and protect soils in Europe
Work packages

Organisational structure and work packages:

WP 1 Integrated farming on marginal soils: raise productivity
WP leader: Szulc Wieslaw (SGGW)
Co-leader: Rocio Millàn (CIEMAT)

WP 2 Strategies to improve soil biodiversity and ecosystem services: precise management
WP leader: Nelson Marmiroli (UPARMA)
Co-leader: Francois Rineau (UHASSELT)

WP 3 Ecological indicators of land use changes: stresses and key factors of sustainability
WP leader: Peter Schröder (HMGU)
Co-leader: Nele Weyens (UHASSELT)

WP 4 Economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services: cost-effective management
WP leader: Nele Witters (UHASSELT)
Co leader: Tomas Persson (NIBIO)

WP 5 Implementing sustainability of marginal lands: outreach and demonstration
WP leader: Michel Mench (INRA)
WP 6 Project management and coordination
WP leader: Arne Sæbø (NIBIO)
Co-leader: Peter Schröder (HMGU)

Project blog


Blog 1

0.108 MB pdf

Blog 2

0.176 MB pdf

INTENSE Newsletter 4

3.633 MB pdf

INTENSE Newsletter 5

1.661 MB pdf

Start - end date 01.04.2016 - 30.03.2019
Project manager at Nibio Arne Sæbø
Division Division of Environment and Natural Resources
Department Urban Greening and Vegetation Ecology
Partners Helmholtz Zentrum München GmbH, CIEMAT - Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, Hasselt University, INRA - French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Universita' degli Studi di Parma, Warsaw University of Life Sciences and Martlhof am Tegernsee
Total budget EUR 2 430 000
Funding source Research Council of Norway, JPI FACCE ERA-net SURPLUS


INTENSE will respond to several of the “Great Challenges” for the 21st century, which are global food security, use of renewable raw materials and production of energy from biomass, for which the agricultural sector is important.

INTENSE will contribute to sustainable increase in food production, novel products for agriculture and new perspectives for European rural landscapes. Future land use must embrace efficient production and utilization of biomass for improved economic, environmental and social outcomes. In the “International Year of Soils” at least 30 % of the agricultural soils in Europe need to be transformed to a state of higher quality.

Accordingly, INTENSE will contribute to reconverting poor, abandoned and polluted sites including grassland, set aside land, brownfields, and otherwise marginal lands into sustainable agricultural production across Europe. Innovative systems-based tools for the development and implementation of integrated food and non-food production serving for intensified land management of these land areas will be constructed. These tools open up a wide range of novel products and services across farming communities in Europe.

Thus utilizing and developing models characterizing fluxes of matter, productivity and socio-economy, the INTENSE project responds to central questions of FACCE-JPI Core theme 3: Sustainable intensification of integrated food and non-food systems of agriculture. Specifically, recovery of soils from pollution, drought or other reasons for low productivity requires research on (a) identification of crucial soil components and processes (b) identification and assessment of plant species producing high biomass on marginal and/or contaminated soil, (c) the optimum composition for composting and biogas production, (d) degradation and absorption of pollutants by selected species and to demonstrate their potential.

INTENSE will combine cropping and soil amendment experiments, precision agricultural and crop modeling tools, experimental biomass conversion to energy, the assessment of greenhouse gas and nutrient emission and other environmental indicators, as well as socioeconomic models. Stakeholders including farms and farm associated biogas enterprises will be an integrated part of the project to serve to facilitate the implementation of sustainable and financially attractive production alternatives.

The holistic approach of the project will enable the identification of common traits and at the same time enable the development and dissemination of production chains for sustainable intensification which are adapted to the environmental and socio-economic diversity within Europe.



The ambitious aims of the project, are to:

  1. Determine and harmonize methodologies for identification and recovery of degraded soils of specific degradation status,
  2. Develop, and optimize novel cropping systems, using precision agriculture and modeling tools, which are capable of
    i) increasing productivity,
    ii) increasing soil life and functionality,
    iii) making use of specific amendments, to suppress pathogens and fertilize soils.
  3. Develop and implement suitable production systems applicable for land amelioration in complex degradation situations and, finally,
  4. Develop and implement sustainable and financially attractive production alternatives for production on recovered farmland.