Project overview and objectives

The LANDSUPPORT project aims at developing a web-based, open-access GeoSpatial Decision Support System (S-DSS) devoted to:

  • support sustainable agriculture and forestry;
  • evaluate trade-off between land uses;
  • contribute to the development and implementation of land use policies in Europe.

To achieve this, LANDSUPPORT is developing 100 operational, trans-disciplinary S-DSS tools, based on a smart Geospatial CyberInfrastructure (GCI), to achieve a set of innovative scientific, technical and land policy-oriented specific objectives.

Project activities are carried out different geographical and governance scales, from the European level to the national and regional/ local scale –in Italy, Hungary and Austria – with two additional pilot sites in Tunisia and Malaysia. This allows for testing LANDSUPPORT tools in very different physical, socio-economic and cultural settings.

On these basis, LANDSUPPORT is promoting an integrated approach towards rural development policies, by linking science and practice and exploring the vast potential of e-science in agriculture.

LANDSUPPORT’s vision aims at reconciling agriculture and environment, showing that the sustainable management of “land as a resource” is not simply a wicked, unsolvable problem, but rather a complex reality that can be dealt with by using appropriate DSS tools.

PROJECT DETAILS

LANDSUPPORT is a Horizon2020 project, funded by the European Commission. Responding to Call RUR-03-2017, LANDSUPPORT is a collaborative Research and Innovation project.

Key Facts:

  • LANDSUPPORT started on 1 May 2018, and it will last for 42 months.
  • It involves 19 partners from 10 countries both in and outside the EU (Italy, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, Slovenia, Malaysia and Tunisia).
  • It is coordinated by CRISP – the Inter-departmental Research Center on Earth Critical Zone in Support of Landscape and Agri-environmental management – which is part of the University of Naples Federico II.
  • Total EU-H2020 funding for this project amounts to 7 million EUR.

PROJECT structure

During Work Package 1, LANDSUPPORT tools are fine-tuned based on the actual needs of policy makers, farmers, spatial planners and land managers at the European, national and regional/local level. Activities in WP1 are linked to the living lab approach developed in WP7 and WP6.

As a first step of DSS development, Work Package 2 is establishing the harmonized LANDSUPPORT data service platform with integrated handling of raster, vector and meta data, including query APIs allowing “any query, any time, on any size” to be used both as explorable data.

Work Package 3 will build on this platform and will develop a multi-scale and modular modelling system which will constitute the heart of LANDSUPPORT DSS tools.

In parallel, Work Package 4 will collect, pre-process and deliver a portfolio of Earth Observation (EO) maps and products from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites, with the aim of enabling a continuous monitoring of highly dynamic land surface variables and providing vegetation biophysical variables to run, assess and validate model results.

wp-schema

At this point, the heart of the DSS will be completed, and this is where Work Package 5 will come into play, designing and developing a highly customized LANDSUPPORT Spatial DSS web application, as well as integrating engines modeling and data layers in the web-based Geospatial Cyber-Infrastructure (GCI).

The living lab process is developed over two work packages, and namely WP6 and WP7. In WP7, the operational needs of future users (policy makers, farmers, spatial planners and other land managers) will be explored during dedicated workshops at the national and local level. WP6 will then test, evaluate and validate LANDSUPPORT results and products together with these future users.

In addition, WP7 will also include capacity building activities with future users, as well as communication, outreach and dissemination activities targeting wider audiences.

Work Package 8 includes all project management and coordination tasks, whereas Work Package 9 includes all tasks aimed at complying with the ethical requirements.

BACKGROUND

Several European directives and policies are aimed at reconciling agriculture and environment, preserving natural resources and adapting to climate change at the same time. However, full implementation of these directives and policies is still challenging – as recognized, for example, in COM(2015) 120 or COM(2013) 683 of the European Commission. Similar challenges are faced by the factual application of global strategic policy documents aiming at sustainable landscape management, such as for example the 7th EAP, the FAO Agenda, or the 17 SDG in the 2030 UN Agenda.

In this respect, three key implementation challenges were identified, and namely:

  1. The high physical and socio-economic multi-faceted complexity of the landscape, resulting from its spatial variability, its multi-functionalities (e.g. agriculture/environment) and its site-specific dynamic nature;
  2. The lack of a truly integrated approach to many agricultural and environmental problems: these problems are often addressed by simple overlapping – as in a standard GIS system – of environmental data layers (e.g. vegetation, soil etc.), instead of applying a truly integrated approach as, for example, the “Earth Critical Zone” modeling approach;
  3. The lack of factual support to: (i) farmers, to promote adoption of sustainable agriculture practices; and (ii) regional and national governments, for the sustainable management agriculture, forest lands and related environmental issues. Such multi-scale support would be crucial for the successful implementation of land policies, as it would support positive actions at a very local scale, as well as their integration over larger (e.g. national) areas.

The LANDSUPPORT GeoSpatial Decision Support System (S-DSS) and its 100 operational tools will support policy makers, farmers, spatial planners and land managers in addressing these challenges, and in particular it will:

  • Allow for the evaluation of the trade-offs involved in different land use options;
  • Provide an incentive to good practices and behaviour;
  • Support profitable investments in sustainable practices;
  • Contribute to sustainable land resource management;
  • Allow for considering societal needs when taking land use management decisions.