RECARE Methods

A wide range of innovative methods and approaches were used in RECARE. A description of these methods are provided below.

Rather than following a top-down approach in which scientific and other authorities determine what is going to be done about a certain soil threat at a site, the RECARE project was based on a bottom-up approach that aimed to let all relevant stakeholders make decision in a participatory way. The stakeholders included scientists, farmers and land managers as well as representatives of advisory services, civil society organizations, the private sector, the local administration and governmental organizations. The participatory approach meant that multiple stakeholders discussed problems and developed an answer together, by tapping into the wealth and diversity of expertise and experience represented in the group of mixed stakeholders. Such an approach resulted in more comprehensive solutions by taking into account multiple perspectives, interests, and concerns.


 Sequence of main steps in the RECARE stakeholder process

Front coverKnowledge exchange and mutual learning among different stakeholders were key features of the participatory RECARE stakeholder process and were facilitated by the detailed methodological guidelines, which were developed for each of the steps in the process.  For more details, please read the project brief HERE.  An evaluation of the participatory approach can also be found HERE.




Within RECARE a conceptual framework was developed that reflects the specific contributions soils make to ecosystem services and helped reveal changes in ecosystem services caused by land management and policies affecting soil.


An expert assessment of the impacts of the different remediation options on ecosystem services at the case study sites was undertaken. In this expert assessment, RECARE researchers assessed how sustainable land management measures affect ecosystem services (ES).  The  researchers quantified the link between changed properties and (changed) ES, and identified their benefits and drawbacks.  More details can be found in a report HERE.

The results from the expert assessment were then taken a step further in the 3rd stakeholder workshop, where the stakeholder’s valuation of benefits and drawbacks from ecosystem services were discussed.  The results of this valuation process can be found HERE

A workshop and conference session informed the development of the RECARE approach to valuing ecosystem services


Workshop on Soil Threats and Ecosystem Services

The Work package 2 team of the RECARE project organised an ESS workshop in Wageningen on May 19th 2014. The purpose of the workshop was to exchange background information of the concept of EcoSystem Services and their interaction with the main topic within RECARE: Soil Threats.

 The presentations given by Leon Braat, Mark Everard and Gudrun Schwilch have been recorded on video. These recordings can be viewed below. For convenience, the presentations and the discussion/questions afterwards have been separated in different recordings. Both can be seen below.
The PowerPoint presentations themselves can be downloaded from the table below
#PresenterPowerPoint Presentation Download
1 Dr. Leon Braat  Social, economic & institutional aspects of ESS and EU [7.2Mb]
2 Dr. Mark Everard Soil threats and ecosystem services [2.1Mb]
Dr. Gudrun Schwilch  ESS and soil functions in RECARE [8.9Mb]


Social Economic and Institutional aspects of Eco System Services and EU practice - PART I - Dr. Leon Braat, ALTERRA. from Soil Physics & Land Use PROJECTS on Vimeo.

Social Economic and Institutional aspects of Eco System Services and EU practice - Part II - QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION from Soil Physics & Land Use PROJECTS on Vimeo.

Soil threats and Ecosystem Services - Part I, Presentation by Dr. Mark Everard, UWE, UK from Soil Physics & Land Use PROJECTS on Vimeo.

Soil threats and Ecosystem Services - Part II - QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION from Soil Physics & Land Use PROJECTS on Vimeo.

Ecosystem Services and Soil Functions in RECARE - Presentation by Dr. Gudrun Schwilch - CDE-UNIBE, Switzerland from Soil Physics & Land Use

Ecosystem Services and Soil Functions in RECARE - PART II - PLENARY DISCUSSION & COMMENT from Soil Physics & Land Use PROJECTS on Vimeo.


EGU 2015

A RECARE session devoted to consideration of ecosystems services from soils was convened at EGU 2015.  The presentations from this session can be viewed below. 

 RECARE – Preventing and Remediating Degradation of Soils in Europe through Landcare
 Restoring ecosystem functions and services by overcoming soil threats - The case of Mt. Hekla area in Iceland
 Healthy sand : a farmers initiative on soil protection and ecosystem service management
 Determination of soil degradation from flooding for estimating ecosystem
services in Slovakia
 Soil Threats and Ecosystems Services in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus
 Rethinking Soils: an under-investigated commons?
 A proposed framework to operationalize ESS for the mitigation of soil threats

In the RECARE project, the economic analysis was led by Luuk Fleskens from Wageningen University. The team looked at the economics of the measures trialled in the case studies using a range of methods that considered not only the costs of the measures but also the benefits derived from their impacts.

A multi-method approach was taken to assess the costs and benefits of the implemented measuers at the field trial and Case Study level.  The three methods used were:

  • Ecosystem services valuation
  • Baysian Belief Networks
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis



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.