Ecological indicators of land use changes: stresses & key factors of sustainability

Environmental indicators provide information on pressures on the environmental conditions of the selected agroecosystems and societal responses as proxies for measuring conditions that are so complex that currently there are limited possibilities for direct measurement. This WP will collect information about the status of the selected field sites, soil improvement, biomass production, and the impact that the measures exert on resilience and productivity in these ecosystems to stakeholders, the public and to policy makers. Information on soil fertility, soil life, plant performance and yield, as well as on stress factors and on product quality and the ecological sustainability of the measures taken in INTENSE will be provided to the other WPs. This will help prioritizing regions and systems for the adaptations and mitigation strategies to be applied. Agrochemical use will be minimized, and irrigation will be avoided. Sectoral policies concerning e.g. land use, nature and biodiversity conservation, water and irrigation, greenhouse gas emissions and soil quality (e.g. soil carbon sequestration) will also benefit from this approach. WP 3 receives production data from WP1, WP2, WP4 and WP5.

Description of the tasks 

Task 3.1: Status Quo
Partners involved: HMGU, all partners

Monitor vegetation and productivity on selected sites; implement data into models to define status quo of sites. Cooperation with WP2 will be essential for mapping and modelling plant resources.
Task 3.2: Harmonization
Partners involved: BIOGECO, all partners

Establish common methodology for sampling and assay. Determine plant stress from drought, heavy metals or organic pollution in lead species during growth.
Task 3.3: Lab studies
Partners involved: UPARMA, HMGU

Lab studies with lead species, growth in different nutrient and water status, explore mechanisms of tolerance and quantify uptake and metabolism of main pollutants (site specific).
Task 3.4: Plant Microbe Interaction
Partners involved: UHAS, HMGU, UPARMA

Recognize the extent of plant-microbe interactions as drivers of adaptation. Together with UHAS establish markers of performance. Cooperation with WP2 will concern data on microbial populations at sites affecting soil functionality. 
Task 3.5: Farm Testing
Partners involved: HMGU/Martl, SGGW, UPARMA, NIBIO, CIEMAT

Set up trials for different cropping systems on farm, utilization of biomass for compost, biofuel, and secondary products. Obtain biomass samples from other stands to feed them into biogas reactors, and for biochar production. Biochar will be considered in WP1 as amendment to improve soil organic matter and carbon sequestration.
Task 3.6: Key factors and Indicators
Partners involved: HMGU, NIBIO, BIOGECO

Select key factors driving changes in soil resilience, yield and product quality according to the OECD pressure-response model and define indicators for communication with stakeholders. Data will be provided to WP2 for model building. 
Task 3.7: Forecast changes
Partners involved: HMGU, NIBIO, BIOGECO

Use PLATHO and EXPERT-N to forecast plant performance under given management options; validate modelling approach by sampling & yield monitoring. Provide decision support system (WP5)