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Farmers' perception of soil health: The use of quality data and its implication for farm management

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  • Raquel N. R. Falcão
  • Michal Vrana
  • Marco Pittarello
  • Laura Zavattaro
  • Barbara Moretti
  • Peter Strauss
  • Gunter Liebhard
  • Yangyang Li
  • Xiaoping Zhang
  • Miroslav Bauer
  • Tomáš Dostál
  • José A. Gomez
  • Iria Benavente‐Ferraces
  • Juan C. García‐Gil
  • César Plaza
  • Gema Guzmán
  • Maria Llanos Lopez
  • Bela Pirkó
  • Zsofia Bakacsi
  • Dimitre Nokolov
  • Josef Krása
Article numbere13023
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Soil Use and Management
Issue number1
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Preventing and reversing soil degradation is essential to maintaining the ecosystem services provided by soils and guaranteeing food security. In addition to the scientific community, it is critical to engage multiple stakeholders to assess the degree of soil degradation and mitigation strategies' impact and meet the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, European Union's Common Agricultural Policy, and other national and international goals. A semi‐structured questionnaire was distributed across countries participating in the EU Horizon‐2020 “Transforming Unsustainable management of soils in key agricultural systems in E.U. and China. Developing an integrated platform of alternatives to reverse soil degradation (TUdi).” Using farmers' associations and educational institutions as an intermediate to distribute the questionnaires was an effective strategy for gathering a high number of responses. Results from 456 responses to the questionnaire showed that farm country, size, type of agriculture, and educational level of farm managers were significantly associated with the farmers' perception of soil degradation issues. Farm size and type of agriculture were also correlated with applying a nutrient management plan. The implications of the results for soil conservation measures are discussed. Additionally, we highlight the potential of projects such as TUdi for creating collaboration networks to drive widespread adoption by farmers of technologies to reverse the degradation of agricultural soils.