Research project Climate change adaptation through soil and crop management (CLIMASOMA): synthesis and ways forward

CLIMASOMA project logo, with the word CLIMASOMA surrounded by soil and an earthworm, with grass on top

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Sarah Garré

Sarah Garré

ILVO researcher and water expert


General introduction

What does the existing scientific literature teach us about the role of soil management on hydrological and biological soil functions and the resilience of crop production to climate change within specific pedo-climatic contexts? We studied this in the CLIMASOMA project, a project within EJP SOIL. We identified frameworks and soil and crop models that consider soil structure as a dynamic key variable. The project identified knowledge gaps around the relationship between soil management and the hydrological and biological functioning of soil. Optimizing this relationship will lead to better climate adaptation. This is essential to help farmers make the right choices to adapt to a changing climate.

Research approach

We collected relevant literature, databases and model approaches that shed light on the biophysical, agronomic and socio-economic and policy factors surrounding the role of soil for climate adaptation. We structured the data from existing literature into an open knowledge library. We analyze this knowledge library qualitatively. We constructed a new databases on soil hydraulic conductivities and used it in a machine learning approach to uncover relationships and their interaction, causes and knowledge gaps.


European agriculture is vulnerable to weather extremes, but it also holds the key to adapt. By choosing well how to manage their land, farmers can take action against drought and peak rains. More than 10,000 observations across Europe show that it is especially important to keep the soil covered with living plants, even in winter. Stopping plowing is not a holy grail. Addition of plant material such as mulch, compost or biochar helps the soil to absorb and retain water.

The detailed results of the project can be found at


EU Horizon2020