RO-3 :: Raw material and resource consumption. Nutrients: maintain and improve soil fertility under the increased demand of higher yields and increased rates of nutrients export.

Soil nutrient levels can decrease over time when crop plants are harvested, as nutrients are not returned to the soil. Essential nutrients needs to be compensated either through the natural process of decomposition or by the easy means of adding fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers increase crop production but their overuse may have harmful effects on the soil and water, especially when they are very concentrated and water soluble and may ultimately end up leaking into our water bodies, ponds, streams, groundwater and contaminate water supply. The increasing costs for energy are another point of concern for chemical fertilizers consumption. Seeking for alternatives, largely accessible organic wastes can be turned into valuable compost products for raising crops organically and replacing the use of chemical fertilizers. With higher urbanization, continuous growing cities and increased agricultural productivity, the municipalities, industries and agriculture farms are generating huge amounts of organic wastes but their disposal and use may pose serious threats to the environment and societal risks to the human health.
Specific research questions:
Net impacts
• Optimized use of synthetic fertilizers under the global climate change impact.
Why: Energy and raw materials are scarce every day, everywhere. Costs for fertilizers are continuously increasing. Prevention of soils and groundwater pollution from chemical fertilizers use is mandatory.
Natural capital
• Waste recycling: a better use of soil as bio-geo-chemical reactor to prevent its contamination and sustain its productive potential.
Why: The proper management of agricultural, urban and industrial is one of the most important challenges of the last decade’s modern society. The most recent approaches focus on the design of systems able to convert the wastes into resources. Developing locally adapted waste recycling systems (connected with local soil remediation needs), will reduce the risks related to waste long distance transportation. As the entire world population is getting more and more urbanized, the sewage sludge use in agriculture needs to fit better to soil, water bodies/groundwater and yields environmental quality.
Net impacts
• Climate change: how soils productivity and resilience will be affected?
Why: The human induced impact on environment is raising more and more public concerns. Even the smallest environmental changes should be identified and carefully assessed, as they might grow to an extent and magnitude unable to be controlled. Proper land use management systems have to be design in order to mitigate the climate change impact with regard to carbon sequestration in agricultural and forestry lands, reducing agricultural land CH4 and NO2 gases emissions, biomass for bio-fuels.

Among the responents’ answers related with important/relevant documents, research agendas, research programmes underpinning these topics, the stakeholders have listed The National Plan for Rural Development 2014 - 2020, the National Strategy for Agri-food Sector Development on Medium and Long Term, the UEFISCDI National Plan for Research, Development and Innovation 2014-2020, The Research Sectorial Plan of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Programme of Research PN II - developed by the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation (UEFISCDI): (i) Capacity, (ii) Partnerships in priority areas and (iii) Human Resources and also, the EU Directives.
Some of the listed documents have received more weight in respondents explanation like for the National Plan for Research and Innovation 2015-2020 which acts in coordination, coherence and implementation of national policies on research and development and knowledge; the program is run by the National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation (NASR) under the Ministry of Education and Research, having the role of synthesis and coordination in implementing the Strategy and Governance Program in scientific research, technological development and innovation. It comprises five programs: Development of the national research and development, increasing competitiveness of the Romanian economy through R & D and innovation, European and international cooperation, and Frontier and fundamental research in areas of strategic interest.