Benchmarks - Earthwatch


BBuilding a European Network for the Characterisation and Harmonisation of Monitoring Approaches for Research and Knowledge on Soils

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Benchmarks is building a European network – and an integrated soil health monitoring framework – to advance soil research, monitor soil health and advocate for sustainable land use.

The Problem

Currently, more than 60% of the EU’s soils are considered to be in an unhealthy state.

The Soil Health and Food mission board has set the goal to have 75% of European soils healthy or significantly improved by 2030. This is in line with other important European initiatives such as the Green Deal and EU Farm-to-Fork Strategy.

Measuring the success of initiatives through the harmonised monitoring of European soils is an essential, but enormously complex task.


Benchmarks aims to validate and further develop indicators for soil health and functions, developing an Integrated Soil Health Monitoring Framework that is transparent, harmonised and cost-effective.


Benchmarks collaborates with stakeholders in 24 European case studies to co-develop and evaluate the multi-scale and multi-user focused monitoring framework.

Earthwatch’s role

At Earthwatch, our Farming With Nature team in the Netherlands engages stakeholders in developing indicators for, and measuring the health of soil through citizen science. Our U.K.-based innovation team engages stakeholders through a serious game; a game designed with an educational real-word narrative.


  • Wageningen University (coordinator)
  • Osterreichische Agentur fur Gesundheit und Ernahrungssicherheit
  • Climate Farmers
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
  • Commonland Foundation (Commonland) 
  • Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
  • Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
  • Ustav Vyzkumu Globalni Zmeny Av Cr VVI (Global Change Research Institute  
  • Direção Regional de Agricultura e Pescas do Centro
  • Fundacio Privada Ersilia
  • BV Exploitatie Reservegronden Flevoland
  • Forschungsinstitut fur Biologischen Landbau Stiftung
  • Fundacion Regeneration Academy (Regeneration Academy Foundation)
  • Greenback
  • Grand Alfred
  • Institute for Applied Plant Biology
  • Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement 
  • Institut National des Sciences et Industries du vivant et de l’environnement – agroparistech 
  • Universite de Lorraine
  • Stichting International Soil Reference and Information Centre
  • Jozef Stefan Institute 
  • LUONNONVARAKESKUS (LUKE Natural Resources Institute Finland)
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research 
  • Masarykova univerzita
  • Universidade de Coimbra 
  • Stichting Wageningen Research 
  • Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Agrarlandschaftsforschung

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