The main aim of iSQAPER was to develop an interactive soil quality assessment tool (SQAPP) for agricultural land users that integrates newly derived process understanding and accounts for the impact of agricultural land use and management on soil properties and functions, and related ecosystem services.
For this purpose, >30 long-term experimental field trials in the EU and China were analysed to derive regulating principles for integration in SQAPP. SQAPP was developed using a multi-actor approach aiming at facilitating social innovation and providing options to land users for cost-effective agricultural management activities to enhance soil quality and crop productivity.
SQAPP was tested at 14 dedicated case study sites in the EU and China covering a wide spectrum of farming systems and pedo-climatic zones, and rolled-out across the continents thereafter. Within the case study sites a range of alternative agricultural practices was selected, implemented and evaluated with regard to effects on improving soil quality and crop productivity. In total, the project identified 89 different agricultural management practices and tested the effect of 18 of those on soil quality across eight different climatic zones and 32 potential farming systems.
SQAPP grants free access to soil data for any location of choice. It assesses the most likely threats to soil quality status and provides targeted advice on how to improve it. Users can also interact with the databases and upload local data to refine the existing analysis and recommendations. Besides SQAPP, the project team has also developed a toolkit for policymakers, researchers and land managers wanting to monitor and assess soils at the local, regional or continental scale.