The olive tree plays a crucial role in oil production in the Mediterranean region. However, olive growers face challenges such as intensive agriculture practices, land degradation, biodiversity loss, and functionality reduction. The SOIL O-LIVE project, funded by the EU, aims to address these challenges through various multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary projects. The project will assess the environmental condition of olive grove soils on a large scale in the major Mediterranean olive production areas. SOIL O-LIVE will examine how pollution and land degradation affect olive groves’ soils, investigate the connection between soil health and the quality and safety of olive oil, implement effective soil amendments and ecological restoration practices, and establish strict ecological thresholds for healthy European olive groves.


For over fifty years, intensive agriculture has significantly impacted olive groves in the Mediterranean Region. This has led to land degradation, loss of biodiversity, and reduced functionality, which may have affected the quality and safety of olive oil, a crucial commodity in Europe. To address this issue, the Soil O-live project will comprehensively assess the environmental conditions of olive grove soils in the Mediterranean Region. The project will consider the most significant olive production areas and their impact on oil quality. Its objectives include:


Analyzing the effects of pollution and land degradation on olive grove soils


Investigating the relationship between soil health and olive oil quality


Implementing effective soil amendments and restoration practices


Defining ecological thresholds to establish certification for healthy soils in European olive orchards

 By promoting manifest soil biodiversity and functionality enhancements, the project aims to improve the quality and safety of olive oil, benefiting both producers and consumers.


An international high-level academic consortium has been formed, which includes several prominent institutions. In addition, the University of Basel (Switzerland) participates as a non-European associate partner. The project also benefits from the collaboration of two private sector companies: Nutesca, S.L. and Deoleo Global, as well as the Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE). The consortium is supported by the International Olive Council and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Union, which is part of the European scientific research agency.