New Life - Environmental recovery of degraded soils and desertified by a new treatment technology for land reconstruction

LIFE10 ENV/IT/000400

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Alberto MOLIGNANI
Tel: +39 (0)523 524042
Fax: +39 523 524071
Email: molignani@mcmecosistemi.com; murelli.elena@gmail.com

Project description:


Soil is a non-renewable resource performing a crucial role in maintain a sustainable environment whilst providing the necessary raw materials to support economic activities. Soil acts as a carbon sink and can contribute to offsetting carbon dioxide increases. But soil degradation is accelerating. According to the European Environment Agency, 17% of the EU’s total land area is seriously eroded and nearly 75% of the soil in southern Europe is considered to possess low or very low organic matter content, indicating reduced biodiversity. This deterioration compromises the filtering and buffering capacity of soils, and increases the potential accumulation of pollutants by elevated concentrations of fertilisers and pesticides. Current work to tackle soil degradation focuses on rationalising or limiting soil use, or in using organic fertilisers and agricultural improvers. These approaches only partially limit the soil degradation process; a more comprehensive approach is needed.


The New Life project will demonstrate an innovative method based on the mechanical and chemical treatment of infertile soils. This combines soil mixing (exhausted soils mixed with other solid matrices) and soil disintegration processes with a subsequent reconstruction phase, resulting in an aggregate that has agronomic value. The technique will stabilise the organic matter in reclaimed soil by injecting humic and fulvic acids during the disruption phase. Treatment will allow the reclamation of degraded soil in unproductive areas whilst producing ground covering for re-vegetation and agro-forestry. This will reduce the need to bring in fertile soil, and will conserve natural resources. Moreover the solid matrices used in the mixing phase are mostly waste material (washed sand and gravel from quarry activities, waste from paper mills). The project will be implemented over an area of 200 000 m2 in the municipality of Piacenza, in the regional park of the river Trebbia. The land area targeted by the project is significantly degraded by compaction, loss of structure, lack of organic matter and sealing, and is thus an excellent test-bed for the proposed technology.

Expected results: The New Life project will aim at the production of optimal quality soil, and will tackle soil degradation across the project area. Expected results include:

    • A 20% increase in stable organic matter in soils and a 10% increase in humic and fulvic acids, excluding those added;
    • Conversion of the soil structure from massive, laminated, multi-faceted angular and glomerular porous, thus reducing soil compaction of soils;
    • Increased water retention and heat capacity of the treated soils;
    • Increase in the fertility of treated soil;
    • Increase in the depth of fertile soil used by vegetable species: the site now appears to have an average root depth of about 40cm (low); this will be increased by 100-150%, or about 80 to 100 cm (moderately high);
    • Increase in diversity of plant species on the site;
    • Increase in the aerobic heterotrophic bacterial population;
    • Planting of at least 500 trees;
    • Full restoration of 200 000 m2 area and its conversion into a public park; and
    • An increase in the protective capacity of the soil.



Environmental issues addressed:


Land-use & Planning - Soil and landscape protection


land restoration‚  soil degradation

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator M.C.M ECOSISTEMI S.R.L.
Type of organisation SME Small and medium sized enterprise
Description M.c.m. Ecosistemi S.r.l., based in the Emilia-Romagna region, northern Italy, is an environmental services company specialised in industrial and agrarian ecology, in particular the analysis and remediation of sites.
Partners Comune di Piacenza, Italy Provincia di Piacenza, Italy UniversitĂ  Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Piacenza, Italy


Project reference LIFE10 ENV/IT/000400
Duration 01-OCT-2011 to 31-DEC -2017
Total budget 4,025,473.00 €
EU contribution 1,929,837.00 €
Project location Emilia-Romagna(Italia)


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