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SoilTrEC: a global initiative on critical zone research and integration


Soil is a complex natural resource that is considered non-renewable in policy frameworks, and it plays a key role in maintaining a variety of ecosystem services (ES) and life-sustaining material cycles within the Earth's Critical Zone (CZ). However, currently, the ability of soil to deliver these services is being drastically reduced in many locations, and global loss of soil ecosystem services is estimated to increase each year as a result of many different threats, such as erosion and soil carbon loss. The European Union Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection alerts policy makers of the need to protect soil and proposes measures to mitigate soil degradation. In this context, the European Commission-funded research project on Soil Transformations in European Catchments (SoilTrEC) aims to quantify the processes that deliver soil ecosystem services in the Earth's Critical Zone and to quantify the impacts of environmental change on key soil functions. This is achieved by integrating the research results into decision-support tools and applying methods of economic valuation to soil ecosystem services. In this paper, we provide an overview of the SoilTrEC project, its organization, partnerships and implementation.

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This work is supported by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme as a Large Integrating Project (SoilTrEC,, Grant Agreement No. 244118).

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Correspondence to Manoj Menon.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Menon, M., Rousseva, S., Nikolaidis, N.P. et al. SoilTrEC: a global initiative on critical zone research and integration. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 3191–3195 (2014).

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  • Critical Zone
  • Ecosystem services
  • Soil processes
  • Integrated modelling
  • Thematic strategy