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Soil quality – A critical review

Bünemann, Else K.; Bongiorno, Giulia; Bai, Zhanguo; Creamer, Rachel E.; de Deyn, Gerlinde; de Goede, Ron; Fleskens, Luuk; Geissen, Violette; Kuyper, Thom W.; Mäder, Paul; Pulleman, Mirjam; Sukkel, Wijnand; van Groeningen, Jan Willem and Brussaard, Lijbert (2018) Soil quality – A critical review. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 120, pp. 105-125.

[thumbnail of buenemann_etal_2018_Soil_quality_review_SBB-Vol120-p105-125.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0038071718300294


Sampling and analysis or visual examination of soil to assess its status and use potential is widely practiced from plot to national scales. However, the choice of relevant soil attributes and interpretation of measurements are not straightforward, because of the complexity and site-specificity of soils, legacy effects of previous land use, and trade-offs between ecosystem services. Here we review soil quality and related concepts, in terms of definition, assessment approaches, and indicator selection and interpretation. We identify the most frequently used soil quality indicators under agricultural land use. We find that explicit evaluation of soil quality with respect to specific soil threats, soil functions and ecosystem services has rarely been implemented, and few approaches provide clear interpretation schemes of measured indicator values. This limits their adoption by land managers as well as policy. We also consider novel indicators that address currently neglected though important soil properties and processes, and we list the crucial steps in the development of a soil quality assessment procedure that is scientifically sound and supports management and policy decisions that account for the multi-functionality of soil. This requires the involvement of the pertinent actors, stakeholders and end-users to a much larger degree than practiced to date.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:cosystem service, Indicator, Minimum data set, Land quality, Monitoring, Soil capability, Soil fertility, Soil function, Soil health, Soil threat, Stakeholder, FiBL 10092, iSQAPER
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil > Soil quality
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Climate
Netherlands > Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
Related Links:https://www.fibl.org/de/projektdatenbank/projektitem/project/1014.html
Deposited By: Mäder, Paul
ID Code:34774
Deposited On:28 Feb 2019 14:14
Last Modified:06 Jan 2021 15:34
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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