Main authors: Else K. Bünemann, Giulia Bongiorno, Zhanguo Bai, Rachel E. Creamer, Gerlinde De Deyn, Ron de Goede, Luuk Fleskens, Violette Geissen, Thom W. Kuyper, Paul Mäder, Mirjam Pulleman, Wijnand Sukkel, Jan Willem van Groenigen and Lijbert Brussaard
Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: Bünemann, E. K. et al. (2018) Soil quality - A critical review. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Volume 120, May 2018, pp 105-125

 

Because the reviewed literature is often not clear (enough) on who were the main developers and who are the main end users of the soil quality assessment schemes (»Approaches to soil quality assessment Table 1, Table 2), we asked (by e-mail) 17 scientists who stood at the cradle of such schemes, or can currently act as spokespersons for them, to answer the following questions:

  1. Who were the three main stakeholders, in order of importance, who were involved in the development of the soil quality assessment scheme?
  2. Who are the three main stakeholders, in order of importance, using the soil quality assessment scheme?
  3. Can you guide us to published or internet-accessible information (if any) on the extent of use and on user feedback?

We received answers from 11 countries: Australia (2 programs), Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland and USA.

The main developers of soil quality assessment schemes turned out to be scientists (8x) and government agencies (3x), while farmer organizations were top-ranked only once. The second position was taken by a mix of scientists (3x), (regional) government agencies (3x) and agricultural advisors (2x). Third positions were filled in only 5x, with various stakeholders.

When it comes to end users, government agencies and consultants/agricultural advisors are top-ranked (each 4x), and farmers 2x. In second position are scientists (4x), (regional) authorities (3x), farmers/land managers (2x) and students (1x). Hence, not unexpectedly, scientists play a leading role in the development of soil quality assessment schemes. Remarkably, however, farmers/land managers, consultants/agricultural advisors and other stakeholders usually play an insignificant role in development, whereas they turn out to be important end users of the schemes. Quantitative data on the use of the assessment schemes is available in only four cases and user feedback data are equally scarce.

 


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