Bioclear earth part of international

To achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement concluded in 2015, we need to do more than just phasing out fossil fuels.

An important method to reduce CO2 is its fixation in the soil. To study the effectiveness of this process, the EU set up the interdisciplinary international project LANDMARC, which will examine how we can utilize alternative strategies in land-uses to combat further global warming. This worldwide project examines, for example, the effects of sustainable coffee, rice and pepper production, agroforestry (with and without combined grazing), cultivation of perennial and annual crops, wet cultivation with high groundwater levels in peatlands and indigenous forest fire management in the Amazon region.

In order to be able to measure the effects of these different ways of land-use, this project uses a combination of innovative technologies, the so-called Earth Observation tools. The latest satellite technology is used to generated data relating to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, air quality and vegetation mapping.

Our role within Landmarc

Bioclear earth is involved in evaluating the effects of the different forms of land use on the microbiology of the soil and the associated effects on, for example, nitrogen and carbon uptake. In order to research these effects, we use an in-situ measurement tool: Next generation sequencing of DNA. This technique deciphers the identity and consequently the functions of microbes through their DNA. We are responsible for the coordination of worldwide sampling for the various case studies in LANDMARC and take care of the analysis and interpretation of all these data extracted from the soil samples.

In the first 2 years, we took samples in 4 case studies (paludiculture and agroforestry (the Netherlands), pasture farming (Portugal) and soil management (Kenya). A total of 68 samples. This year we collected samples for 3 case studies: agroforestry (Indonesia), effect of grazing in pasture/forest land (Spain and Portugal) and afforestation (Spain). A total of 121 samples. In addition, we are in the process of arranging sampling in a number of new case studies: agroforestry (Vietnam), wetlands (Canada), Protected Areas (Burkina Faso), indigenous forest fire management (Venezuela) and rice cultivation (Nepal).

On 15-17 June 2022, we met our LANDMARC partners in person for the first time. It was very interesting and inspiring to see everyone, to share results and to brainstorm about future research steps. During the workshop we presented some microbial research results and during a field trip we gave a demonstration of soil sampling. We also made a short video for our partners to visualise all the different steps of our work, not only in the field but also in the lab and then processing all the data. 

Together with all our LANDMARC partners, we are working on this project with great enthusiasm, because we believe that the key to climate adaptation lies at least in part in the soil.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 869367.

Would you like more information about this project, please contact Eline Keuning or Afnan Suleiman.

Eline Keuning
Lead soil health
Afnan Suleiman
Soil microbiologist