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The soil quality concept and its importance in the study of Finnish arable soils

Palojärvi, Ansa and Nuutinen, Visa (2002) The soil quality concept and its importance in the study of Finnish arable soils. Agricultural and Food Science in Finland, 11 (4), pp. 329-342.

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PDF - Published Version - English

Document available online at: http://www.mtt.fi/afs/pdf/afsf11_329.pdf


Arable soil is a functional unit whose condition is vital to crop production, but also to ecosystems at large owing to the significant role of soil in global nutrient cycles and balances. The soil quality concept recognises the concern for the sustainability of current arable land use practices. It integrates soil chemical, physical and biological properties, and takes account of the interaction of soil with water and air. This paper reviews the soil quality concept and its applications and discusses the importance of the concept for the assessment of Finnish arable soils. Many aspects of the chemical quality of arable soil are already well known in Finland. In contrast, follow-up of the physical and biological soil components, which are increasingly seen as important features of soil quality, is rudimentary. For monitoring of the soil quality at different scales – field, regional, national and global – a suitable set of indicators needs to be identified. In this paper particular attention is paid to the potential importance and usefulness of selected biological indicators. It is clear that more basic research is needed to provide scientists and advisors with a solid basis for transmitting reliable information on soil quality. While the soil quality concept has been justifiably criticised, it has clear merits in the integrated handling of the soil entity and in highlighting the environmental aspects of arable soil quality.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:soil quality, sustainability, indicators, monitoring, soil biology, soil microbiology, soil fauna, earthworms
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Research affiliation: Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
Related Links:http://www.mtt.fi/english
Deposited By: Koistinen, Riitta
ID Code:16737
Deposited On:09 Feb 2010 11:05
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:43
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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