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Lilian O'Sullivan

Research Officer

Research Interests

My main research focus revolves around understanding how soils are part of a larger system. This includes integrating compartmentalised research to analyse the synergies and trade-offs associated with land use and management. Exploring land use and land use change with respect to climate and environment objectives is an important aspect of my work to support the sustainability of Irish agriculture.  My methodological toolkit includes spatial analysis in relation to soils and land. Stakeholder engagement is a key feature of my approach.

  • Sustainable soils and land use
  • Integrated assessments of soil functions at multiple scales
  • Land use and sustainability

Research Team

PHD Students:

  • Parvaneh Nowbakht
  • Elsa Dingkuhn
  • Sudipto Bhowmik
  • Talia Huffe

Current Projects

  • U-Protein -Unlocking Protein Resource Opportunities To Evolve Ireland’s Nutrition (DAFM funded).
  • Farm-Carbon – Understanding carbon dynamics of hedgerows. Funded by EPA and co-funded by DAFM.
  • EJP Soil – European Joint Programme on Soils. EJP SOIL is a European Joint Programme vco-fund on Agricultural Soil Management contributing to key societal challenges including climate change, water and future food security. Teagasc are leading WP8 – Strengthening the science to policy interaction.
  • SIREN –  Stocktaking for Agricultural Soil Quality and Ecosystem Services Indicators and their Reference Values. This is an EU project to develop an inventory of indicator systems for assessing soil quality and ecosystem services, as currently used by Member States in the EJP SOIL and beyond. SIREN is EJP Soil co-fund.
  • iSOMPE – EU project on innovative soil management practices and agricultural system and their ability to deliver multiple goals will be developed using a surveying approach. iSOMPE is EJP Soil co-fund. 
  • Soil Fertility DST Ethiopia – Ethiopia Fertiliser Decision Support Tools for Agricultural Soil Fertility Management in Ethiopia. Funded by GIZ German Development Agency.
  • NEGENES - Next Gen Nutrient Efficiency for Sustainability – soil fertility underpinning nutrient use efficiency for sustainability in Ireland. This project aims to develop spatially explicit nutrient advice that considers soil specific advice and nutrient loss risks to underpin nutrient use efficiency.
  • SoilCARE- The overall aim of SoilCare is to identify and evaluate promising soil-improving cropping systems and agronomic techniques that increase the profitability and sustainability of agriculture across Europe. Funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
  • Landmark – Land Management Assessment Research project aim is to quantify the current and potential supply of soil functions across the EU, as determined by soil properties, environment and management practices. Funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
  • SQUARESoil Quality Assessment Research Project. To understand the functional capacity of soils in Ireland. Funded by DAFM.


Lilian has published many peer reviewed scientific papers.  For a full listing of Lilian's peer reviewed papers please refer to her Orcid and Publons accounts:

Lilian's ORCID account

Lilian's Publons account

Nowbakht, P., O’Sullivan, L., Cawkwell, F., Wall, D.P., Holloway, P., (2022), A comparison of obfuscation methods used for privacy protection: Exploring the challenges of polygon data in agricultural research, Tranactions in GIS 00:1–31.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tgis.12892

Rodrigues, L., Hardy, B., Huyghebeart, B., Fohrafellner, J., Fornara, D., Barančiková, G., Bárcena, T.G., De Boever, M., Di Bene, C., Feizienè, D., Kätterer, T., Laszlo, P., O’Sullivan, L., Seitz, D., & Leifeld, J., (2021). Achievable agricultural soil carbon sequestration across Europe from country-specific estimates. Global Change Biology, 00, 1-18. 

Tuohy, P., O’Sullivan, L., Fenton, O., (2021), Field scale estimates of soil carbon stocks on ten heavy textured farms across Ireland, Journal of Environmental Management 281:111903

Vrebos, D., Jones, A., Lugato, E., Meire, P., O’Sullivan, L., Schulte, R.P.O., Staes, J. (2021), Spatial evaluation and trade-off analysis of soil functions through Bayesian networks., European Journal of Soil Science 74 (4).

Bondi, G., O’Sullivan, L., Marongiu, I., Wall, D., Fenton, O., Creamer, R., (2021), An index of management intensity to support soil quality for sustainable intensification of grassland. Soil Use and Management 37 (3).

Wall, D., O’Sullivan, L., Debeljak, M., Trajanov, A., Schroder, J., Henriksen, C.B., Creamer R.E., Cacovean, H. and Delgado, A., (2020), Key indicators and management strategies for Water Purification and Regulation.

Wall, D., Delgado, A., O’Sullivan, L., Trajanov, A., Schroder, J., Henriksen, C.B., Creamer R.E., Cacovean, H. and Debeljak, M., (2020), A Decision Support Model for Assessing the Water Regulation and Purification Potential of Agricultural Soils Across Europe. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 4: 115.

Micha, E., Roberts, W., O’Sullivan, L., O’Connell, K., Daly, K., (2020), Examining the policy-practice gap: The divergence between regulation and reality in organic fertiliser allocation in pasture based systems, Agricultural Systems 170

Schulte, R., O’Sullivan, L., Vrebos, D., Bampa, F., Jones, A., Staes, J., (2019), Demands on land: mapping competing societal expectations for the functionality of agricultural soils in Europe. Submitted to Environmental Science and Policy, Impact factor: 3.826

Simo, I., O’Sullivan, L., Schulte, R., Creamer, R., (2019), Digging deeper: understanding the contribution of subsoil carbon for climate mitigation, Environmental Science and Policy 98:61-69

Bampa, F., O’Sullivan, L., Madena, K., Sanden, T., Spiegel, H., Henriksen, C.B., Ghaley, B.B., Jones, A., Staes, J., Sturel, S., Trajanov, A., Creamer, R.E., Debeljak, M., (2019), Harvesting European Knowledge on Soil Functions and Land Management using Multi Criteria Decision Analysis, Soil Use and Management, Special Issue: Soil information-sharing and knowledge building for sustainable soil use and management insights and implications for the 21st century.  Impact factor: 1.366.

O'Sullivan, L., Creamer, R.E., Wall, D., Creamer, R.E. and Schulte, R.P.O., (2018), Functional Land Management: bridging the think-do gap using a multi-stakeholder science-policy interface in Ambio 47 (2). Impact factor: 3.616

Paul, C., Fealy, R., Fenton, O., Lanigan, G., O’Sullivan, L., Schulte, R.P.O., (2018) Assessing the role of artificially drained agricultural land for climate change mitigation in Ireland, Environmental Science and Policy. Impact factor: 3.826

Ghaley, B.B., Rusu, T., Sandén, T., Spiegel, H., Menta, C., Visioli, G., O’Sullivan, L., Trinsoutrot Gattin, I., Delgado, A., Liebig, M.A., Vrebos, D., Szegi, T., Michéli, E., Cacovean, H., Henriksen, C.B., (2018), Assessment of Benefits of Conservation Agriculture on Soil Functions in Arable Production Systems in Europe, Sustainability, Impact Factor: 2.075

Valujeva, K., O’Sullivan, L., Gutzler, C., Fealy, R., Schulte, R.P.O., (2017), The challenge of managing soil functions at multiple scales: an optimisation study of the synergistic and antagonistic trade-offs between soil functions in Ireland in Land Use Policy 58: 335-347. Impact factor: 3.194

O’Sullivan, L., Bampa, F., Knights, K., Creamer, R., (2017), Soil protection for a sustainable future: options for a soil monitoring network for Ireland in Soil Use and Management. Impact factor: 1.366

Fenton, O., Vero, S., Schulte, R.P.O., O’Sullivan, L., Bondi, G., Creamer, R. (2017) Application of Dexter’s soil physical quality index: an Irish case study, Irish Journal of Agriculture and Food Research 56: 45-53, DOI: 10.1515/ijafr-2017-0005

Coyle, C., Creamer, R.E., Schulte, R.P.O., O’Sullivan, L., Jordan, P., (2016), A Functional Land Management conceptual framework under soil drainage and land use scenarios in Environmental Science and Policy 56: 39-48. Impact factor: 3.826

Schulte, R.P.O., O’Sullivan, L., Coyle, C., Farrelly, N., Gutzler, C., Lanigan, G., Torres, G., Creamer, R.E., (2016), Exploring climate-smart land management for Atlantic Europe in Agricultural and Environmental Letters.

O’Sullivan, L., Creamer, R.E., Fealy, R., Lanigan, G., Simo, I., Fenton, O., Carfrae, J., Schulte, R.P.O., (2015), Functional Land Management for managing soil functions: A case-study of the trade-off between primary productivity and carbon storage in response to the intervention of drainage systems in Ireland in Land Use Policy 47: 42-54 Impact factor: 3.194

Schulte, R.P.O., Bampa, F., Bardy, M., Coyle, C., Creamer, R.E., Fealy, F., Gardi, C., Ghaley, B.B., Jordan, P., Laudon, H., O’Donoghue, C., O’hUallacháin, D., O’Sullivan, L., Rutgers, M.,  Six, J., Toth, G.L., Vrebos, D., (2015), Making the most of our land: managing soil functions from farm scale to continental scale in Frontiers in Environmental Science


R. Creamer and L. O’Sullivan (eds.), 2018. The Soils of Ireland, World Soils Book Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71189-8_2