A transition from conventional to more sustainable soil management measures (SMMs) is required to reverse the current soil organic matter (SOM) losses in the agroecosystems. Despite the innovations and technologies that are available to prevent SOM decline, top–down knowledge transfer schemes that incentivize a certain measure are often ineffective. Here, we discuss relevant outcomes from a participatory approach where researchers, farmers, practitioners and government officials have discussed opportunities and barriers around SMM application to prevent SOM decline. Within a series of workshops, stakeholders identified, scored, and selected SMMs to field-tests and evaluated the benefits and drawbacks from their application. Results showed that the stakeholders recognized the need for innovations, although they valued the most promising SMM as already available continuous soil cover and conservation agriculture. In contrast, more innovative SMMs, such as biochar use and the variable rate application of organic amendments through precision farming, were the least valued, suggesting that people’s resistance to new technologies is often governed by the socio-cultural perception of them that goes beyond the economic and technological aspects. The valuation of benefits and drawbacks by stakeholders on trialed measures emphasized that stakeholders’ perspective about soil management is a combination of economic, environmental, and socio-cultural aspects, thus corroborating the need for transdisciplinary bottom–up approaches to prevent SOM depletion and increase soil rehabilitation and SOM content.
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