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WP5: Soil Ecological Impact

The main aims of using living mulches and cover crops are to protect the soil and to improve overall soil fertility and sustainability. It is therefore essential to understand effects of living mulches and cover crops on soil in order to optimize the performance of the production system. The specific objectives of this work package are
• To assess soil fertility parameters such as soil organic matter and microbial activity including mycorrhiza populations and nutrient (especially nitrogen) supply,
• To determine system effects on carbon sequestration, and
• To determine system effects on nitrate leaching and erosion.
The assessments will be performed mainly within the Multi-Environment Experiment with more specific measurements restricted to certain sites. Assessment of the carbon and nitrogen dynamics will be the basis to evaluate the contribution of organic matter and nitrogen supply to soil fertility.