LIFE Project Cover Photo


Reference: LIFE17 GIE/IT/000477 | Acronym: Soil4Life



Soil is a limited, non-renewable resource, essential for the wellbeing of humans and important ecosystem functions, such as food production, biodiversity, the regulation of water and carbon cycles and, ultimately, the balance of the whole biosphere. If soil quality deteriorates, there are negative impacts on air and water quality, biodiversity and climate change. It can also affect the health of citizens and endanger food safety. As such, soil resources must be protected and used in a sustainable way. The main European threats identified by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are soil contamination by industrial activities, consumption of soil for urban uses, and loss of organic carbon. However, there is little public awareness of the importance of soil resources.

Civil society organisations campaigned for a European Soil Directive, but this stopped in 2014 when the European Commission withdrew the working paper. A European Citizens Initiative (ECI) was then activated to acquire consent on the proposal. A network of about 450 organisations from all EU Member States joined the ECI campaign.


SOIL4LIFE will apply the FAO’s volunteer guidelines for sustainable soil management in a Mediterranean context (Italy, France, Croatia). It will promote sustainable and efficient use of soil to maximise ecosystem services.

Specific objectives include improving soil-related decision-making processes at national, regional and local levels, and raising awareness among stakeholders, farmers, professionals and citizens. This includes reaching around 2 million people through a media campaign. The project will also aim to make European institutions and Member States aware of the need to adopt appropriate regulations, and promote a reduction of land use in urban planning.

SOIL4LIFE contributes to the EU Thematic Soil Strategy and other EU policy initiatives to promote a more efficient and sustainable use of soil, including the Europe 2020 Strategy for growth and jobs.

Expected results:

  • Establishment of a permanent consultation board on sustainable soil management with institutional stakeholders;
  • Adoption of a Charter of Principles for Sustainable Soil Use by at least 12 regional and municipal authorities in Italy;
  • Adaptation for use in Rome and Milan of a digital simulator for land-use planning created by an earlier LIFE project (LIFE SAM4CP);
  • Launch of 10 regional observatories on soil consumption;
  • Some 5 000 farmers and/or farms adopt the voluntary guidelines on soil protection for farmers, and at least 600 professionals adopt voluntary guidelines on soil protection for professionals;
  • Around 800 farmers, 600-800 professionals and 60 regional representatives of the Italian agriculture federation trained in sustainable soil management;
  • A 20% increase in public awareness of the problem of unsustainable soil management;
  • Some 2 million people reached through an international awareness campaign;
  • Pilot in the city of Rome: establishment of a special office for the protection of soil, adoption of the municipal plan for permeability, and amendment of the General Building Regulation of the City of Rome; and
  • Pilot in Lombardy: two companies and 50 farmers involved, one technical seminar held for companies.


    Reference: LIFE17 GIE/IT/000477
    Acronym: Soil4Life
    Start Date: 01/10/2018
    End Date: 31/03/2022
    Total Budget: 2,919,769 €
    EU Contribution: 1,751,861 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Legambiente Onlus
    Legal Status: PRIVATE
    Address: via Salaria 403, 00199, Roma, Italia
    Contact Person: Stefano DI MARCO
    Tel: +39 (0)6 86268379

    LIFE Project Map



    • Soil and landscape protection
    • Agriculture - Forestry


    • Agriculture
    • soil degradation
    • environmental awareness
    • environmental training
    • environmental law
    • ecosystem-based approach
    • land use


    • COM(2006)231 - “Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection” (22.09.2006)


    Name Type
    Legambiente Onlus Coordinator
    The Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service, France Participant
    Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori, Italy Participant
    Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Italy Participant
    RomaCapitale, Italy Participant
    Udruga Zelena Istra - Green Istria, Croatia Participant
    Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale, Italy Participant
    Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani, Italy Participant
    ERSAF - Regional Agency for Agriculture and Forests, Italy Participant