Helping stakeholders select and apply appraisal tools to mitigate soil threats: Researchers' experiences from across Europe.

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Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report
Length: 723 words

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Keywords Soil degradation; Soil improvement; Stakeholder engagement; Impact assessment; Decision-support tools; Europe Highlights * We propose guidelines for selecting tools for appraising soil improvement measures. * Tools designed with stakeholders' needs in mind are capable of fostering local buy-in. * Ensemble of tools facilitates understanding of how remediation options work best. * Researchers support sequencing of tools in evaluating benefits of remediation options. Abstract Soil improvement measures need to be ecologically credible, socially acceptable and economically affordable if they are to enter widespread use. However, in real world decision contexts not all measures can sufficiently meet these criteria. As such, developing, selecting and using appropriate tools to support more systematic appraisal of soil improvement measures in different decision-making contexts represents an important challenge. Tools differ in their aims, ranging from those focused on appraising issues of cost-effectiveness, wider ecosystem services impacts and adoption barriers/opportunities, to those seeking to foster participatory engagement and social learning. Despite the growing complexity of the decision-support tool landscape, comprehensive guidance for selecting tools that are best suited to appraise soil improvement measures, as well as those well-adapted to enable participatory deployment, has generally been lacking. We address this gap using the experience and survey data from an EU-funded project (RECARE: Preventing and REmediating degradation of soils in Europe through land CARE). RECARE applied different socio-cultural, biophysical and monetary appraisal tools to assess the costs, benefits and adoption of soil improvement measures across Europe. We focused on these appraisal tools and evaluated their performance against three broad attributes that gauge their differences and suitability for widespread deployment to aid stakeholder decision making in soil management. Data were collected using an online questionnaire administered to RECARE researchers. Although some tools worked better than others across case studies, the information collated was used to provide guiding strategies for choosing appropriate tools, considering resources and data availability, characterisation of uncertainty, and the purpose for which a specific soil improvement measure is being developed or promoted. This paper provides insights to others working in practical soil improvement contexts as to why getting the tools right matters. It demonstrates how use of the right tools can add value to decision-making in ameliorating soil threats, supporting the sustainable management of the services that our soil ecosystems provide. Author Affiliation: (a) Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, Faculty of Environment, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, Leeds, UK (b) Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands (c) Soil, Water and Land Use, Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands (d) Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Switzerland (e) Department of Agriculture, Hellenic Mediterranean University, Heraklion, 71410, Greece (f) School of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, 73100, Greece (g) Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden (h) Evenor-Tech "Technology-Based Company Focus on Solutions for Soil Use and Protection", Spain (i) Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment, University of Padova, Italy (j) Earth Surface Processes Team, Center for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of Environment and Planning, University of Aveiro, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal (k) Department of Land and Water Resources Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava, Slovak Republic (l) Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 10, 3012, Bern, Switzerland (m) Federal Office for the Environment, Soil Section, 3003, Bern, Switzerland (n) Department of Soil Science Erosion and Land Protection, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, State Research Institute, Pulawy, Poland (o) Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Frederik A. Dahls vei 20, 1430, Aas, Norway (p) Department of Sustainable Land Management & Soil Research Centre, School of Agricultural Policy and Development, University of Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AR, UK (q) Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Cyprus * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 8 September 2019; Revised 10 December 2019; Accepted 15 December 2019 Byline: Uche T. Okpara [uche4purpose@yahoo.co.uk] (a,*), Luuk Fleskens [luuk.fleskens@wur.nl] (b), Lindsay C. Stringer [l.stringer@leeds.ac.uk] (a), Rudi Hessel [rudi.hessel@wur.nl] (c), Felicitas Bachmann [Felicitas.Bachmann@cde.unibe.ch] (d), Ioannis Daliakopoulos [idaliak@staff.hmu.gr] (e,f), Kerstin Berglund [kerstin.berglund@slu.se] (g), Francisco Jose Blanco Velazquez [fj.blanco@evenor-tech.com] (h), Nicola Dal Ferro [nicola.dalferro@unipd.it] (i), Jacob Keizer [jjkeizer@ua.pt] (j), Silvia Kohnova [kohnova@stuba.sk] (k), Tatenda Lemann [tatenda.lemann@cde.unibe.ch] (a), Claire Quinn [c.h.quinn@leeds.ac.uk] (a), Gudrun Schwilch [gudrun.schwilch@bafu.admin.ch] (l,m), Grzegorz Siebielec [gs@iung.pulawy.pl] (n), Kamilla Skaalsveen [Kamilla.Skaalsveen@nibio.no] (o), Mark Tibbett [m.tibbett@reading.ac.uk] (p), Christos Zoumides [c.zoumides@cyi.ac.cy] (q)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A612205585