Staff at Cranfield University are developing a board game to demonstrate the role of soil in meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
  • DatesAugust 2021-December 2022
  • FundedThe British Society of Soil Science Interdisciplinary Grant for Early Career Researchers and Professionals
  • PartnersDr Nicolas Beriot - Wageningen University, Dr Tanvi Taparia - University of Copenhagen, and Dr Michael Lӧbmann - Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research

Soil health management plays a vital role in food security and safety, resource efficiency, biomass production, flood control, water quality and biodiversity conservation. The accomplishment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Zero Hunger, Clean Water, Climate Action and Life on Land (SDGs 2, 6, 13 and 15) are directly dependent on soil health. Yet, soil literacy remains low while soil quality is fast deteriorating.

In this project, we developed a board game to raise awareness and communicate the challenges associated with these SDGs and demonstrate soil-based solutions to them. The game helps players to not only understand soil multifunctionality, but also utilise complex soil functions to mitigate the associated challenges. This educational game highlights the strong links, feedbacks and trade-offs that exist between these SDGs and suggests collaborative and interdisciplinary solutions that preserve soil health as well as our socio-economic needs.

The board game is freely available at It can be used in social engagement events as an entertaining aid to increase public awareness and foster curiosity towards complex soil ecosystems and their importance for human wellbeing and wealth.