Finding and sharing solutions to

protect our soils

Europe's soil research hub

Who is RECARE-Hub for?

Farmers & Forestry

RECARE-Hub contains the latest information on preventing soil threats, and cost-benefit analysis on proven remediation techniques.


Discover innovative sustainable land management measures that can combat threats to key soil functions.

Policy makers

Find out more about land care strategies relevant to your region and our integrated assessment of existing soil related policy.


Access a wealth of European research data on soil threats and the efficacy of land care strategies.

Teachers & environmentalists

Whether you're a teacher or a concerned environmentalist, find out why Europe's soils are under threat and what researchers are doing to help combat the problems.

Resources designed for you


The soil that underpins Europe's agricultural systems faces numerous threats.

If you are interested in learning about specific soil threats, you can explore the individual threats below. If you want detailed guidance for assessing soil degradation or learning about management measures to prevent and remediate against soil degradation, you might want to head straight over to RECARE's resources.



Other General Resources

In addition to the various academic texts provided within this section, a variety of other resources are listed below, for adults and children, both fiction and non-fiction.


Sir E John Russell (1957) The World of the Soil

John Stewart Collis (1973) The Worm Forgives the Plough

Vernon Gill Carter & Tom Dale (1975) Topsoil and Civilisation

Daniel Hillel (1992) Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the Soil

David W Wolfe (2002) Tales From The Underground: A Natural History of Subterranean Life

Alastair McIntosh (2004) Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power

Jennifer Wallace (2004) Digging the Dirt: The Archaeological Imagination

Yvonne Baskin (2006) Under Ground: How Creatures of Mud and Dirt Shape Our World

William Bryant Logan (2007) Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth

David R Montgomery (2007) Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

Vandana Shiva (2008) Soil Not Oil: Climate Change, Peak Oil and Food Insecurity

Lierre Kieth (2010) The Vegetarian Myth

Edward R Landa & Christian Feller, eds. (2010) Soil and Culture

Amy Stewart (2012) The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms

Satish Kumar (2013) Soil, Soul, Society: A New Trinity for Our Time

Kristin Ohlson (2014) The Soil Will Save Use: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet

Paul B Thompson (2017) The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics

Maria Munoz & Raúl Zornoza, Eds. (2017) Soil Management and Climate Change

Rattan Lal & B. A. Stewart, Eds. (2018) Urban Soils



Knut Hamsun (1921, 2007) The Growth of the Soil

John Steinbeck (1939, 2006) The Grapes of Wrath



Layers of Soil - The Dr Binocs Show (2017) Peekaboo Kidz

Soil Ecology Claymation Films (2017) Maxwell Helmberger

Dirt: The Movie (2007) Bill Logan, Paul Stamets

The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2005) Taggart Siegel

Dirtgirlworld - Grow! (2010) Cate McQuillen, Maree Lowes

Permaculture Soils (2010) Geoff Lawton

Symphony of the Soil (2013) Deborah Koons

Sustainable (2016) Matt Wechsler

Heart and Soil (2008) Mara LeGrand

A Farm for the Future (2009) BBC/Rebecca Hosking

Deep Down and Dirty - The Science of Soil (2014) BBC

The Birth of the Soil (1948) Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936) Pare Lorentz


Children's Books

Doreen Cronin (2012) Diary of a Worm

Steve Tomecek (2002) Dirt (Jump into Science)

Raymond Bial (2000) A Handful of Dirt

Melissa Stewart (2004) Down to Earth (Investigate Science)

Gary Larson (2008) There's a Hair in my Dirt



Publication Office of the European Union, Luxembourg (2018) World Atlas of Desertification

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations - Regional and National Soil Maps and Datasets

UK Soil Observatory - UK Soil Maps

GIS Sol - French Soil Maps


Other Documents, Journals, Books & References

Special Journal Edition - 'Assessment and Governance of Sustainable Soil Management' (2018) Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050)

Special Journal Edition - 'Carbon Input into Agricultural Soils' (2018) Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050)

Special Journal Edition - 'Soil Science in Conservation Agricultural Systems' (2017) Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050)

Special Edition Journal - 'Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation' (2015) Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050)

Special Edition Journal - 'Enhancing Soil Health to Mitigate Soil Degradation' (2014) Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050)

Be the Solution to Soil Pollution (2018) FAO

Global Soil Organic Carbon map: Technical Report (2018) FAO

Global Soil Organic Carbon map: Information Leaflet (2018) FAO

Soil Pollution: A Hidden Reality (2018) FAO

Soil Organic Carbon Mapping Cookbook 2nd Edition (2018) FAO

Providing support in relation to the implementation of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy - Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services Soil ecosystems (2018) van der Meulen, S & Maring, L; Report Prepared for European Commission DG Environment.

Potential strong contribution of future anthropogenic land-use and land-cover change to the terrestrial carbon cycle (2018) , B; , A; Robertson, E; , N; Environmental Research Letters, 13, 6

Social-ecological outcomes of agricultural intensification (2018) Rasmussen, L V, et al; Nature Sustainability, 1, 275-282

A systemic approach for modeling soil functions (2018) Vogel, HJ et al, SOIL, 4, 83-92

Soil fertility after 10 years of conservation tillage in organic farming (2018) Peigné, J et al, Soil and Tillage Research, 175, 194-204

Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter (2017) Harden, W, J et al, Global Change Biology, 24, 2, e705-e718

Global Sequestration Potential of Increased Organic Carbon in Cropland Soils (2017) Zomer, R. J, et al, Scientific Reports, 7

Detecting macroecological patterns in bacterial communities across independent studies of global soils (2017) Ramirez, K, S, et al, Nature Microbiology

Soil conservation in the 21st century: why we need smart agricultural intensification (2017) Govers, G et al; SOIL, 3, 45-59

The Global Land Outlook 1st Ed. (2017) UNCCD

Long-term pattern and magnitude of soil carbon feedback to the climate system in a warming world (2017) Melillo, J. M. et al, Science; 358, 6359, 101-105

Adding organic matter to soil has a limited effect on water holding capacity (2017) Minasny, B. Mcbratney, A. B. European Journal of Soil Science

Bacterial Communities on Wheat Grown Under Long-Term Conventional Tillage and No-Till in the Pacific Northwest of the United States (2017) Yin, C; Mueth, N & Hulbert, S; Phyto Biomes Journal; 1, 2

Turning Soils into Sponges: How Farmers can Fight Floods and Droughts (2017) Union of Concerned Scientists

Revised World Soil Charter (2015) UN FAO (available in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French)

The Economics of Land Degradation - The Value of Land: Prosperous lands and positive rewards through sustainable land management (2015)

Global research on soil contamination from 1999 to 2012: A bibliometric analysis (2014) K. Guoa, Y.F. Liua, C. Zengb, Y.Y. Chena, and X.J. Weia; Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science

Do Current European Policies Prevent Soil Threats and Support Soil Functions? (2014) Glæsner, N; Helming, K; de Vries, W; Sustainability

Soil Contamination: Impacts on Human Health (2013) Science for Environment Policy - European Commission

Early soil knowledge and the birth and development of soil science (2010) Brevika, E. Hartemink, A. CATENA; 83, 1

Unversity of Minnesota Extension - Soil management and health

Journal of soils and sediments

European journal of soil science

European journal of soil biology

Soil biology and biochemistry

Plant and soil

Latest News

RECARE Conference Desktop 1


RECARE – Preventing and Remediating Degradation of Soils in Europe through Land Care 

RECARE Policy Conference, 27 September 2018 in Brussels

Soils in European Union are a vital environmental resource in need of better protection. Despite the wide recognition of the importance of soils, soil protection efforts in European Union have been partial, fragmented and insufficient to halt their degradation. Calls for improving this situation have increasingly come from scientists, policymakers, non-governmental organisations and citizens. The discussions and negotiations around the design of European policies for post-2020 period offer the opportunity to improve the current situation.

What is the best way forward for soil protection in the EU? How can we improve EU policies to secure the delivery of soil ecosystem services?

These questions will be at the core of the Final Conference of the RECARE project to take place on 27 September 2018 in Brussels, presenting project findings on:

  • effective strategies for prevention and remediation of soil threats and their uptake among land managers
  • the impacts of European policies, and
  • options for future policy responses

The event will offer an opportunity to discuss how RECARE results can influence the design of future European policies on soil protection.



The conference agenda is available here.


The conference will take place at:
Les Ateliers des Tanneurs
Rue des Tanneurs 60A
1000 Bruxelles

Please click here to locate the conference venue on Google Maps.


To register for the conference, please, fill in our registration form: 

To keep up with RECARE, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Case Study Sites

 Click on the map below to find out more about RECARE's case study sites
Case Studies

Project Partners


RECARE is multidisciplinary team of 27 different organisations assessing the current threats to Europe's soils and innovative solutions to prevent further soil degradation.

Academic Contact
Professor Coen Ritsema 
Wageningen University
E: coen.ritsema[AT]

Media Contact
Dr Matt Reed
E: mreed[AT]


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.

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