The Project

The BIOREM project will demonstrate an innovative integrated methodology for the restoration and the biochemical monitoring of degraded soils.

115 million hectares or 12% of Europe’s total land area are currently subject to water erosion, 42 million hectares are affected by wind erosion. An estimated 45% of European soils have low organic matter content, principally in the Mediterranean countries. The number of potentially contaminated sites in EU-25 is estimated at approximately 3.5 million.

BIOREM will provide an integrated system aimed at monitoring the conditions of soil in a dynamic, faster and more effective way, and at restoring degraded soils by combining revegetation and the addition of exogenous organic matter.

In terms of soil remediation, the project objective is to demonstrate that the BIOREM innovative integrated soil restoration strategy can successfully restore degraded soils, enhancing physical-chemical properties and biochemical activity and increasing fertility up to 25%. This result will be obtained by integrating addition of exogenous organic matter (composted and fresh organic substrates such as biological sewage sludges – a now valueless waste which will be turned into an input) and revegetation with plants conditioned for remediation and adapted to semiarid conditions. The innovative technique will be demonstrated on 10 experimental plots in Italy and Spain, characterized by 10 different types of soil subject to different kinds and degrees of degradation. The effectiveness and flexibility of the proposed system will then be demonstrated through the success of the remediation process.

In terms of soil monitoring, the project objective is to demonstrate that the BIOREM innovative monitoring system can provide a faster (no lab cultivation of samples is needed), more thorough, dynamic monitoring of soil conditions, extremely useful for the development of precisely targeted, far-sighted restoration and development strategies and policies.

Current methods for the assessment of soil conditions can only provide “static” physical/chemical/biological reports about the status of soil in a given moment, upon which only short-term interventions can be based. The project will demonstrate that, starting from a quantitative and qualitative molecular characterization of the biochemical profile of the soil, the BIOREM innovative monitoring system can achieve advanced soil assessment by detecting and evaluating the presence and status of enzymatic processes.

The proposed project actions are fully consistent with the European environmental objectives (as detailed in the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection) and the four key pillars, and will give a significant contribution to their fulfillment. In particular, the implementation present project will prove crucial for the achievement of:

  1. Restoration of degraded soils to a level of functionality consistent at least with current and intended use, thus also considering the cost implications of the restoration of soil: BIOREM will provide a whole set of strategies and best practices for the cost-effective restoration of degraded soils, using a combined set of state-of-the-art methodologies ranging from addition of organic matter and in situ humification to controlled revegetation. When applied across the EU, the BIOREM methodology will help farmers, as well as land managers in general, to effectively tackle land contamination and depletion, of both recent and old origin.
  2. Prevention of further soil degradation and preserving its functions: the BIOREM project has a crucial monitoring component, which will provide policy makers and land managers of all sectors

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