The LANDSUPPORT project developed a suite of smart, web-based decision support tools for land use policies and agriculture management. It ended in 2022, but the user-friendly platform is enabling a broad range of stakeholders to make sound environmental decisions and supporting better spatial planning.
The EU-funded LANDSUPPORT project’s geospatial decision support system and its 100 plus operational tools are supporting policymakers, farmers, spatial planners and land managers in addressing three main challenges. These are the complexity of land systems, the lack of a truly integrated approach to many agricultural and environmental issues, and the lack of support to farmers and regional and national governments in making informed choices about more sustainable land planning and land management.
As 2023 comes to a close, four new tools (soil health, update to land degradation neutrality tool, eco-tourism, biodiversity) are under development and will be published in 2024. “They respond to the growing needs and challenges on land and soil health,” states project coordinator Fabio Terribile, professor of pedology at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. The platform is being implemented based on the requests of certain stakeholders so that the tools’ outcomes are better adapted to their needs. In particular, the European Land and Soil Alliance and the city of Naples either intend to use or are already using the tools related to spatial planning (land take and green infrastructure).
The Natural Park of Cilento has already used LANDSUPPORT tools as a basis for the revision of their plan. FAI, which is the largest Italian association dealing with natural ans cultural heritage, is planning to bring some LANDSUPPORT tools (ecotourism, biodiversity) in their activities with Italian schools. To meet the above needs, the results of this family of tools are being translated into German and Italian. In summer 2022, LANDSUPPORT was invited to the Italian Senate to present the platform’s functionalities.
Following this occasion, the project was explicitly included as a benchmark in the proposal for a new soil framework law for Italy. The platform is being further leveraged through the participation and active contribution in several ongoing EU-funded projects. Lastly, a cooperation with the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland has begun in order to extend some of the LANDSUPPORT platform’s functions to the Icelandic territory as part of GróLind, a large-scale national project to monitor soil and vegetation resources via remote sensing data.
“EU funding for LANDSUPPORT was absolutely key in starting this project and supporting the development of the platform to a stage where it, in turn, is already creating a very large impact,” concludes Prof. Terribile. “The platform counts more than 1 000 active users from a wide variety of entities across Europe, thus justifying the existence and need for a unique integrated platform like ours.”