Work Packages

The project is divided into 7 work packages, 4 technical (GTs) and 3 transversal (GT.Ts):

Technical Work Packages (GT)

GT1: Characterization and risk assessment of contaminated/ degraded sites and implementation of suitable phytomanagement options

GT1: Characterization and risk assessment of contaminated/ degraded sites and implementation of suitable phytomanagement options

GT1 will contribute to establishing a network of phytomanaged contaminated/degraded sites within the SUDOE region to evidence the efficiency of phytotechnologies for ecologically remediating soils and enhancing soil services.

GT1 will consider 3 objectives at all sites (and all partners will be involved):
(1) risk assessment
(2) option appraisal
(3) remediation strategy: operation plan; final data aggregation and verification; benefits from crops and soil services

Eleven experimental sites will be characterized for implementing and evaluating phytomanagement options (energy and woody crops, perennial grasses and high yield crops for ecomaterials and biosourced chemistry, hyperaccumulators for ecocatalysis and phytomining, biochars & composts) to improve ecological functions associated to soil services, alleviate pollutant linkages/risks, produce useable biomass for the Bioeconomy and any other ecosystem services.
GT1 will produce a “Guide of best practices for the phytomanagement of metal(loid)-contaminated soils: chapters on risk assessment and phytomanagement and remediation strategy”.

GT2: Characterization and assessment of biodiversity in relation to phytomanagement options

One of the benefits of phytomanagement is its potential to restore biodiversity in degraded areas, with the concomitant provision of ecosystem services. Specifically, soil biodiversity is a critical issue of ecological research, land use management and biodiversity conservation concerns. But not all soil species contribute equally to the functioning of the soil ecosystem and thus soil organisms are often categorized into functional groups. Here, in GT2, we aim at studying the links between structural (taxonomic, phylogenetic) and functional biodiversity in phytomanaged soils, compared to non-phytomanaged contaminated and non-contaminated soils. Due to the importance of soil biota for soil function and ecosystem services, one of the key questions will be whether soil functioning depends on species richness, key species, species traits or community composition.
Specific objectives:
(1) to assess the effects of phytomanagement on structural soil biodiversity
(2) to assess the effects of phytomanagement on functional soil biodiversity
(3) to identify the interactions between belowground structural and functional soil biodiversity, and both with aboveground plant diversity, in phytomanaged sites
GT2 will produce a “Guide of Best Phytomanagement Practices for Biodiversity Restoration in Degraded and Contaminated Sites”.

GT3: Exploring prospects of functional diversity “engineering” to improve phytomanagement efficiency

Plant selection, cropping patterns, bioinoculation and organic amendments (biostimulants) can optimize phytomanagement systems. Mixed plant covers and winter crops enhance plant yield and promote soil diversity and functions. Bioaugmentation with bioinoculants (plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPR), bacterial endophytes (BE) and mycorrhizal fungi (MF)) and biostimulants can reduce plant stress, increase plant biomass, stimulate plant trace elements (TE) accumulation and/or stabilization and improve soil functionality. GT3 aims to exploit these tools to enhance the success of phytomanagement options.

Specific objectives are to assess for phytomanaged soils:
(1) effect of cropping patterns on soil fertility, functional diversity and TE mobility
(2) bioinoculant and biostimulants influence for improving plant performance, modifying TE mobility and uptake and improving soil functionality
(3) crops with economic value (e.g. energy crops) while mitigating soil contamination and pollutant linkages

GT3 will produce a”Technical guide on strategies to enhance phytomanagement efficiency: planting patterns, bioinoculation and biostimulation”.

GT4: Key ecological functions in phytomanaged sites which provide ecosystem services

Phytomanagement of degraded/polluted lands can provide or restore soil and ecological functions associated to ecosystem services, including supporting (soil formation, nutrient cycling, habitat), and regulating (water purification, C sequestration, pollutant adsorption/transformation). Key involved processes are site-specific and change with time. PhytoSUDOE covers a wide range of environmental conditions, degradation processes and phytomanagement options.

GT4 aims to assess improvements of soil processes in 8 main phytomanaged sites (described in GT1 and GT2), focusing on:
(1) General physicochemical properties
(2) Dynamics of soil organic matter
(3) Soil fertility and nutrient cycling
(4) Total and available soil contaminants
(5) Soil structure and water retention and filtration
(6) Weathering of minerals in the rhizosphere soil

Soils will be sampled at different times during the life of the project as to monitor their evolution and measure the phytomanagement effect.

GT4 will produce the manual “Methodology to asses and monitor key soil processes in phytomanaged sites in Interreg SUDOE region”.

Transversal Work Packages (GT.T)

GT.T1: Project management

GT.T1 will devote to:
(1) the administrative management and daily coordination of the project
(2) political and technical decision-making
(3) project’s internal communication.
(4) la organización interna para la elaboración de informes de ejecución
(5) project’s economic management

GT.T2: Project communication

GT.T2 will coordinate dissemination and communication activities.

It will be focused on three different stakeholders´ groups:
(1) scientific community
(2) stakeholders and end-users, including legislators and decision makers
(3) general public

The communication plan developed in this work package will enable an effective transfer of results to relevant administrative bodies, regulators, SMEs and industry, local communities and general public.

GT.T3: Monitoring and evaluation of the project

GT.T3 activities include creating a procedure for the monitoring and evaluation of the project as well as for the risk management and quality control. It will also be responsible of the project’s progress monitoring.