BetterGardens: Soil quality, Biodiversity and Social Value of Urban Gardens

The research project BetterGardens aims to explore how gardeners cultivate their gardens and by which factors their decisions are influenced. Furthermore, we would like to find out which outcomes the chosen management concepts have on soil quality and biodiversity as well as on the quality of life of gardeners. The study will be conducted in four interrelated sub-projects (A-D) by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL.

Further information about the project BetterGardens


  • Data collection has finished in subprojects B, C and D.
  • First papers describing project results have been submitted.
  • Policy inventory for Lausanne is now available.

Most recent publications

Home, R., Lewis, O., Bauer, N., Fliessbach, A., Frey, D., Lichtsteiner, S., Moretti, M., Tresch, S., Young, C., Zanetta, A., Stolze, M. (2017). Effects of garden management practices, by different types of gardeners, on human wellbeing and ecological and soil sustainability in Swiss cities, Urban Ecosystems (under revision)

Home, R., Stolze, M., Tresch, S., Fliessbach, A., Lewis, O., Bauer, N., Moretti, M., Young, C., Zanetta, A., Frey, D. (2017). BetterGardens: Bodenqualität, Biodiversität und Sozialer Wert von Stadtgärten. Arbeitsgruppe «Vollzug Bodenbiologie» (VBB) Bulletin Nr. 17, 2017, pp. 26-29

Lewis, O., Home, R., Kizos, T. (2017). Digging for the roots of urban gardening behaviours, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening (under revision)

Lewis, O., Moschitz, H. (2017). Lausanne farms & gardens: policy inventory. Report on Task A:2 (Lausanne).  (939.0 KB)

For a complete list of publications so far, please click here.

Factors Influencing Gardeners' Behaviour

  • Social Norms
  • Attitudes and beliefs
  • Perceived behavioural control
  • Policy and regulations


  • Matthias Stolze (Project coordinator)
  • Robert Home (Task leader)
  • Heidrun Moschitz (Researcher)
  • Ingrid Jahrl (PhD Student)

Outcomes for Gardeners

  • Restoration
  • Psychological well-being
  • Physical health
  • Social contact and cohesion
  • Place attachement
  • Fruit, vegetables, flowers etc.


  • Nicole Bauer (Task leader)
  • Christopher Young (Researcher)

Outcomes for Biodiversity

  • Biodiversity
  • Plant-insect interactions
  • Functional diversity
  • Ecosystem processes
  • Ecosystem services
  • Interactions with soil


  • Marco Moretti (Task leader)
  • David Frey (PhD Student)
  • Simon Tresch (PhD Student)

Outcomes for Soil Quality

  • Soil quality
  • Physical soil properties
  • Soil chemistry
  • Soil fertility
  • Litter decomposition
  • Relationship with biodiversity


  • Paul Mäder (Task leader)
  • Andreas Fliessbach (Researcher)
  • Jens Wohlfahrt (Researcher)
  • Simon Tresch (PhD Student)