The project

Soils are currently under increasing threat from a wide range of processes, such as soil erosion, compaction, desertification, sealing, contamination and others. They need to be adequately protected and conserved to ensure that their many functions and services, such as food production, buffering and filtering of water, and storage of nutrients and carbon, are not lost or diminished. The RECARE project has brought together a multidisciplinary team of 27 different organisations to find ways of assessing the current threats to soils and finding innovative solutions to prevent further soil degradation across Europe.


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1. Fill knowledge gaps in our understanding of the functioning of soil systems under the influence of climate and human activities
2. Develop a harmonized methodology to assess the state of soil degradation and conservation
3. Develop a universally applicable methodology to assess the impacts of soil degradation upon soil functions and ecosystem services
4. Select, in collaboration with stakeholders, innovative measures, and evaluate the efficacy of these regarding soil functions and ecosystem services as well as costs and benefits
5. Upscale results from 17 case studies to European scale to evaluate the effectiveness of measures across Europe
6. Evaluate ways to facilitate adoption of these measures by stakeholders
7. Carry out an integrated assessment of existing soil related policies and strategies to identify their goals, impacts, synergies and potential inconsistencies, and to derive recommendations for improvement based on RECARE results
8. Disseminate project results to all relevant stakeholders
Existing national and EU policies will be reviewed and compared to identify potential incoherence, contradictions and synergies. Policy messages will be formulated based on the Case Study results and their integration at European level. A comprehensive dissemination and communication strategy, including this Dissemination and Communication Hub, will accompany the other activities to ensure that project results are disseminated to a variety of stakeholders at the right time and in the appropriate formats to stimulate renewed care for European soils.

 Work package   No.  Work package title  Lead partner
 WP 1  Project management  Wageningen University
 WP 2  Providing the base for RECARE  regarding data collection and  methods  Bioforsk, the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental   Research
 WP 3

 State of degradation and  conservation in the RECARE Case  Study sites 

 Technical University of Crete
 WP 4  Stakeholder participation and valuation  Centre for Development and Environment CDE, University of Bern
 WP 5  Selection of promising prevention, remediation and restoration  measures  ISRIC World Soil Information
 WP 6  Testing and demonstration of  prevention, remediation   UAVR, University of Aveiro, Portugal
 WP 7  Costs, benefits and adoption of  prevention, remediation and restoration   measures  University of Leeds
 WP 8  Applicability and effects of measures  European level   Research Institute for Knowlegde Systems B.V. (RIKS)
 WP 9  Policy analysis and recommendations  Ecologic Institute
 WP 10  Data use, management, and hosting  Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
 WP 11  Dissemination and communication  University of Gloucestershire, UK

The RECARE project is divided into 11 work packages (WP) each with their own set of goals, tasks and deliverables.

WP 1 Project management (Wageningen University)

The overall objective of WP1 is two-fold: 1) to ensure proper activity management of the project, 2) to streamline any administrative, financial, legal and IP (Intellectual Property) issues in order to enable RTD partners to focus on their research activities. Specific sub-objectives are:

  • Activity management to facilitate smooth operation of the project objectives by supporting the coordinator, WP leaders and other partners, and compiling the periodic activity reports
  • To handle all the financial, administrative and legal matters of the consortium
  • Address gender equality issues in the project
  • To ensure good communication within the project, and to parties outside the consortium
  • To organize plenary project meetings and to facilitate the organization of Scientific Board meeting

WP 2 Providing the base for RECARE regarding data collection and methods (Bioforsk, the Norwegian Institute   for Agricultural and   Environmental Research)

  • To achieve an improved overview of existing information on soil degradation at the European scale
  • To assess the influence of climate and human activities upon regulating key soil properties, soil functions and ecosystem services
  • To provide a base for RECARE’s data collection and methods in the Case Study sites

WP 3 State of degradation and conservation in the RECARE Case Study sites (Technical University of Crete)

  • Assembling existing data and information on each of the RECARE Case Study sites, including spatial information, as needed by other WPs
  • Inventory of existing soil degradation assessment methodologies addressing individual soil threats, and selection of the best and most applicable ones for use in RECARE Case Study sites
  • Development of a harmonized methodology to determine the state of degradation and conservation, that is universally applicable and covering all soil threats
  • Determining the extent and severity of soil degradation and conservation using the newly developed harmonized methodology
  • Preparation of degradation and conservation maps for each Case Study area

WP 4 Stakeholder participation and valuation (Centre for Development and   Environment  CDE, University of Bern)

The main objective of WP4 is to ensure that the trans-disciplinary approach of RECARE is fully implemented and that stakeholders (including, land managers, food producers, developers, industry, regulators, advisory services, authorities and experts) are actively involved throughout the project. This includes the development and application of a methodology in order to connect stakeholders to the project, to enable stakeholder learning, and valuation of ecosystem services resulting from degradation and from prevention, remediation and restoration measures, at the local as well as at the (sub-) national level.

WP 5 Selection of promising prevention, remediation and restoration measures (ISRIC World Soil Information)

  • Identify and select promising prevention, remediation and restoration measures to combat degradation, adapted to the local context.

WP 6 Testing and demonstration of prevention, remediation and restoration measures (UAVR, University of Aveiro, Portugal)

  • Defining and implementing a harmonized monitoring strategy for assessing effectiveness of measures for the full range of soil threats addressed by RECARE, with regard to the state of degradation, as well as effects upon soil functioning and ecosystem services
  • Quantifying the effectiveness of the selected and implemented soil protection and/or restoration measures, through comparison with untreated and unthreatened conditions
  • Identifying the key factors and processes explaining the effectiveness of the tested measures, as the basis for up-scaling in WP8
  • Demonstrating the viability of measures for private and public stakeholders

WP 7 Costs, benefits and adoption of prevention, remediation and restoration measures (University of Leeds)

  • Define an appropriate multi-methods approach to assess costs and benefits at the implementation level and entire Case Study level, taking into account the impacts of the measures on ecosystem functions and services
  • Implement the approach for each Case Study with attention to scale, timing and dosage
  • Explore Case Study level preferences for remediation options and evaluation 

WP 8 Applicability and effects of measures at the European level (Research Institute for Knowlegde Systems B.V. - RIKS)

  • Integrate the results obtained by WPs 3-7 in the different Case Studies in order to draw general conclusions for each soil threat and ways to effectively prevent or remediate impacts of such threats
  • Determine to what extent Case Studies contributed to filling knowledge gaps at the European scale
  • Develop and apply a quantitative, spatially explicit model to assess the impact of prevention and remediation measures for different soil threats at the European level

WP 9 Policy analysis and recommendations (Ecologic Institute)

  • Carry out an integrated impact assessment of the relevant EU and national policies and strategies addressing (directly or indirectly) soil threats to evaluate their impact on soil protection and to identify gaps and contradictions between these policies
  • Develop policy recommendations for improving policy efforts, streamlining policy coherence and integration, and improving institutional coordination
  • Promoting implementation of succesfull measures at EU scale

WP 10 Data use, management, and hosting (Joint Research Centre of the   European Commission)

  • Assist RECARE partners to find and access relevant data maintained by partner 13 (JRC), and to use it in GIS and modelling analyses
  • Develop a data infrastructure for the RECARE project
  • Develop software interface for importing/exporting data for the project partners
  • Ensure the proper data management of the project, make the data publicly accessible and maintain the infrastructure beyond the lifetime of the project

WP 11 Dissemination and communication (University of Gloucestershire, UK)

  • Develop an advanced and easy accessible RECARE Dissemination and Communication Hub
  • Develop a Dissemination and Communication Strategy based on specified goals and objectives to raise the visibility of the project and to ensure project results reach the intended target audience
  • Develop a suite of dissemination products from the research outputs suited to different categories of stakeholders at Case Study, national and European levels


The European Commission has issued a Gender Equality Policy, in order to promote gender equality into all its policies covering all European Union countries. This Policy has been laid down in the 'Strategy for equality between women and men' for the period 2010-2015. 

The European policy and its background are described on the Gender Policy website of the EU, the document describing this strategy can be downloaded HERE. Recent publications on gender equality (such as Gender Equality Policies in Public Research and Vademecum on Gender Equality in Horizon2020 can be downloaded HERE.


Since 2012, gender equality is one of the key priorities of a “Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth” (ERA). To this end, Member States are invited to remove barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of female researchers, address gender balance in decision making and strengthen the gender dimension in research programmes.

The European Commission encourages Member States to create the appropriate legal and policy environment to incentivise institutional changes. This should aim to correct gender imbalances in careers and in decision making, and to strengthen the gender dimension in research programmes.


Encouraged by the European Union inititives, the RECARE project promotes Gender Equality by actively stimulating equal rights and opportunities within the project. We encourage project partners to employ both men and women within research where possible, and actively monitor progress in this field. For this work, the Recare project has appointed Heleen Claringbould from COREPAGE. Heleen is a specialist in the field of Gender Issues. Each reporting period a Gender Balance survey is conducted within the project, and a Gender Balance Report written and submitted to the EU. These reports can be downloaded from the table below.


This is the reflection of the first gender reporting period of the RECARE EU project from the 7th Framework program. With the RECARE project the consortium wants to develop and validate prevention, remediation and restoration measures to restore soil functions and ecosystem services to promote sustainable land management and land care " stimulate renewed care for European soils!"

The gender dimension here is to understand the differences in positions, roles and approaches of men and women and prevent biases in these gendered roles and positions when changing the approaches towards soil threats into sustainable land use.

To secure this gender equality goal in the project three key issues are used: awareness raising, mobilization and data gathering. These issues are looked after within the research teams as well as among the stakeholders in the study sites.

Concerning the mobilization it appears that the amount of men and women in the research teams are well balanced, the positions however are out of balance because there are more women among the early researchers and more men among the experienced researchers and higher positions.

The stakeholders were identified by the topic of their involvement (agriculture, research, and water management etcetera), their role (land owner, community leader, retailer of products etc.), aim and sector (public/private) that relate them to the researched soil threat. Gender equality was mentioned in the preparation but not as a goal in itself. The results on the stakeholder participation in the first workshop show that some more effort can be made in the mobilization of women as well as men because they were out of balance. The data gathering among the stakeholders in the evaluation of the first workshop gave some interesting information. They were asked about their roles, their valuation of the soil ecosystem services (ESS), their approach of sustainable land management (SLM) and the impact on their roles when the land management changes. Women specifically reminded us of the health of future generations with sustainable soil management where men specifically mentioned terminology like efficiency related to crop production, the combination of these interpretations give a broad spectrum of the stakeholders valuation of the local soil and its possibilities.

The approach for the following project periods is to continue with the awareness of the gender balance in mobilization of project staff and stakeholders and gather more gender disaggregated data on this gendered ESS/SLM perspective, on the roles and impact of changes in land management approaches mainly based on the information given by the project partners and the involved stakeholders and to use this information in communication and reporting on soil care.

Reporting period
P1 (2015) "Gender equality report RECARE: A gendered approach for sustainable soils." 2MB
P2 (2017)    
P3 (2018)    

The RECARE project is funded by the European Commission FP7 Programme, ENV.2013.6.2-4 ‘Sustainable land care in Europe’. EU grant agreement: 603498. Project officer: Maria Yeroyanni.