A series of infographics providing information about iSQAPER's major research themes and results, soil quality issues in the study sites and agricultural management practices of proven benefit. Most of these infographics were designed by the study sites in communication with their stakeholders to explain local soil quality issues and describe recommended practices.


Infographics relating to the main research themes addressed by iSQAPER

SQAPP: the soil quality app

video 04 screenshot sq

SQAPP launch factsheet

SQAPP: the soil quality app, official launch announcement on 5 December 2020 with overview and download links.

video 04 screenshot sq

What soil threats are addressed in SQAPP?

Soil threats are degradation-causing processes that result from direct human activity or indirect causes such as climate change. They pose a potential risk to soil functions and ecosystem services. In this factsheet we describe the main soil threats to agricultural land identified in the iSQAPER research programme and addressed in SQAPP: the soil quality app.

Soil quality: indicators, assessment & management

video 04 screenshot sq

Soil quality indicators: integrated soil quality assessment

Soil quality is the capacity of soil to perform multiple functions. This capacity can be threatened by intensive agricultural practices. Soil quality can be measured through the use of parameters which are sensitive to management and related to soil functions. For a proper and complete assessment of soil quality, physical, chemical and biological parameters all need to be measured.

video 04 screenshot sq

Earthworms indicate healthy soils

Intensive agriculture puts soil under pressure, causes earthworm numbers to decrease, reducing soil structure and increasing erosion risk. Alternative agricultural practices such as reduced tillage, organic agriculture and crop rotation can favour earthworms and maintain soil functions.

video 04 screenshot sq

Labile carbon: a sensitive soil quality indicator

Labile carbon is a fraction of total carbon closely connected with soil organisms. It has been positively linked with multiple soil functions and is increased by sustainable agricultural management practices such as reduced tillage and organic matter additions. This makes labile carbon a very useful and practical soil quality indicator.

Sustainable land management practices

video 04 screenshot sq

Sustainable farming practices to mitigate soil threats

Soil erosion, organic matter decline and biodiversity loss can all result from intensive agricultural practices. Most ecosystem services are soil mediated and can only be satisfactorily provided by healthy soils. Sustainable farming practices mimic natural soil conditions through minimal disturbance, permanent cover and plant diversity.

Infographics relating to the iSQAPER study sites

Study site 1: De Peel, Netherlands

video 04 screenshot sq

Focus points for sustainable soil management in the Netherlands

The De Peel study site provides examples of focus points for sustainable soil management including prevention of nutrient leaching, subsoil compaction addition of organic matter and crop rotation.
NL version

Study site 4: Southeast Spain

video 04 screenshot sq

Prácticas agrícolas sostenibles del Sureste Español (Sustainable agricultural practices from southeast Spain) 

Mulching, crop rotation, application of compost, reduced tillage, organic agriculture and maintaining a vegetation cover are illustrated and described (in Spanish)

Study site 5: Crete, Greece

video 04 screenshot sq

Land management practices and soil threats in the island of Crete

The land managment practices of no tillage + no herbicide application, no tillage + herbicide application and conventional tillage are compared to assess their effects on soil erosion and loss of organic matter content.

Study site 6: Ljubljana, Slovenia

video 04 screenshot sq

Converting cropland to grazing land

In the light soils of Ljubljana, crop production is affected by drought. Cropland is ploughed and sown with drought resistant grass varieties, fencing and rotational grazing paddocks are introduced to provide pasture for suckler cows with multiple benefits for soil quality.

video 04 screenshot sq

Fertilising with farmyard manure

Manure collected from livestock is stored before being ploughed into the soil. The manure increases nutrient content and availability, soil structure, microbial activity and impacts plant growth resulting in better vegetable and crop production. 

video 04 screenshot sq

Biochar and zeolite - integrated soil fertility managment

Bio-char and zeolite are used in animal production and spread onto the fields as part of organic manure. Zeolite is also used as individual element in crop production to improve soils. All residues are incorporated into the soil.

video 04 screenshot sq

Biochar as a soil amendment

Biochar is obtained by pyrolysing wood, plant residues and manure at high temperatures. It is ground before being applied to the soil while sowing or mixed with slurry or manure. It has a number of beneficial effects on soil quality.
SI version

video 04 screenshot sq

Organic farming

Organic farming in Slovenia is based on a 5 year crop rotation, complete absence of artificial plant protection products and mineral nitrogen and the circulation of nitrogen via organic manure, crops and residues.
SI version

video 04 screenshot sq

Catch crops - importance for soil quality

Catch crops are sown after the harvest when there is enough moisture in the soil for the plants to grow rapidly. They are used for feeding animals or sown for greening arable land.
SI version

video 04 screenshot sq

Nutrient cycle in organic farming

Animals are the source of nutrients on farms. Composting cattle manure improves its characteristics and reduces nutrient loss from fields. Hoeing aerates the soil and increases nutrient accessibility. Soil analysis is important for fertilization plans.
SI version


Study site 7: Zala County, Hungary

video 04 screenshot sq

Land management in Zala County

Zala County is in the southwest of Hungary. Farming practices include the use of manure, grass strips, contour tillage, permanent and cover crops and minimum tillage.  Soil erosion contributes to the eutrophication of nearby Lake Balaton and protection against erosion is essential. 

Study site 8: Braila County, Romania

video 04 screenshot sq

Specific soil degradation processes in pastures

Compaction from uncontrolled animal trampling, erosion on slopes, weed infestation from inadequate management and drought periods all cause soil degradation in pastures. Sustainable grazing systems use controlled grazing access and temporary exclusion to allow vegetation restoration.

Study site 9: Trzebieszów, Poland

video 04 screenshot sq

Biodiversity in organic farming

Diversity in plant and animal species (especially meso and micro fauna) plays an important role in food and biomass production, in the stability and adaptability of ecosystems and enhances soil function.

video 04 screenshot sq

Soils in Poland - how to improve and save

The light, sandy soils of Poland tend to be used with a restricted cereal crop rotation. Consequently low organic matter, low water holding capacity and soil acidity hinder production and other soil functions. Increasing organic matter and using sustainable soil management will save the soil for future generations.

Study site 10: Tartuuma, Estonia

video 04 screenshot sq

Land use in Estonia

In Estonia, there are intensively managed mixed farms focussed on dairy farming and crop production, but there are also alternative and organic farms located on the west coast and on the islands which have different impacts on soil quality.

video 04 screenshot sq

Soils of Estonia

In central and southern Estonia, where the iSQAPER study site is located, the main soil types are Luvisols. The degradation threats faced by these soils include unbalanced use of nutrients, decomposition of organic matter, compaction, erosion and acidification.

video 04 screenshot sq

Agricultural friendly management in Estonia - reduced tillage

Reduced (minimum) tillage is a tillage method that does not turn the soil over; usually, only the upper 10-18 cm of the soil surface is tilled. The technology was implemented in Estonia less than 10 years ago and already 2/3 of cereals are cultivated by minimum tillage technology.

video 04 screenshot sq

No-till farming in Estonia

No-till farming (also called zero tillage or direct drilling) is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage.


Farmer Jean-Pierre Lemesle introduces GAEC de la Branchette an organic dairy farm in Brittany, France and one of the iSQAPER research project's study sites.



Full project title: Interactive Soil Quality Assesment in Europe and China for Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Resilience

Acronym: iSQAPER
Duration: 2015-2020

Project website address: www.isqaper-project.eu
Information website address: www.isqaper-is.eu

The project has received funding from

mid eu flag high

European Union

European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme
EU Call Identifier: H2020-SFS-04-2014 Soil quality and function
Grant agreement: 635750
Project Officer: Antonio Pérez-Rendón

China flag


Ministry of Science and Technology
Grant no. 2016YFE011270
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Grant no. 16146KYSB20150001

Swiss flag


Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation.
Contract:  15.0170-1

Project coordinator: Wageningen University, Soil Physics and Land Management Group
EU project representative: Prof. Dr. Coen J. Ritsema (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Project leader: Dr. Luuk Fleskens (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

This website does not necessarily represent the opinion of the European Commission. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that might be made of the information contained herein.


1. Disclaimer

All the data and information contained in the iSQAPER Project Information System website (iSQAPERiS) have been subject to a series of rigorous quality assurance procedures. However please note the following.

  1. The editors and authors are not able to guarantee the topicality, accuracy, completeness or quality of any data, information or methodology provided herein.
  2. Parts of this website (including all linked material) may be extended, changed or partly or completely deleted by the editors and authors without separate announcement.
  3. The editors and authors have no responsibility for determining the fitness or suitability of the data, information or methodologies for use by a third party.
  4. Neither iSQAPER nor the European Commission can be held accountable for any loss, damage, injury or any other occurrence arising from their use.
  5. The website contains links to external sites over which iSQAPER has have no control, and for which we have no responsibility.
  6. The information displayed on this website, or in the publications that can be downloaded from here, does not necessarily represent the view of the European Commission.

If you notice information on this website that you believe should be corrected or updated, please contact us. We shall try to remedy the problem.

[This disclaimer is to be regarded as part of the iSQAPER Project Information System website.  If sections or individual terms of this statement are not legal or correct, the content or validity of the other parts remain uninfluenced by this fact.]

2. Copyright and conditions of use of iSQAPER products

The iSQAPERiS website is a proprietary product of the integrated research project Interactive Soil Quality Assesment in Europe and China for Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Resilience (iSQAPER). This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant agreement: 635750); the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences; the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (Contract: 15.0170-1) and is therefore protected by Copyright Law. The full ownership and all copyrights of all data, information and methodologies (including the text, images, audio and video files) contained in this website are reserved.

However, the ethos of the project is to disseminate information and promote further research about soil quality, agricultural productivity and environmental resilience. Consequently, unless otherwise indicated, re-use of content on the website for non-commercial purposes is permitted, free of charge, under the following conditions.

  1. Users are required to acknowledge the relevant author/s and the iSQAPER Project as a whole in all reference or publications that involve the use of iSQAPER data, information or methodology.
  2. If the use of data, information or methodology is extensive, users must offer iSQAPER co-authorship of any proposed publication. iSQAPER will have the right to accept this offer, allow the user to publish in his/her own right, or refuse permission to publish.
  3. Copies of, or a reference to, any publications which refer to these data, information or methodology should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


3. Privacy policy

If the opportunity is given in this website for the input of personal or business data (email address, name, postal address, etc); that input is voluntary. The use of all offered services is permitted (if and so far technically possible and reasonable) without specification of any personal data or under specification of anonymized data or an alias. The use of published postal addresses, telephone or fax numbers and email addresses for marketing purposes is prohibited. Measures will be taken against offenders sending unwanted (spam) messages.


[Ecosystems Services]

Go To Top