Soil quality - a critical review
|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|
|Source document:||Bünemann, E. K. et al. (2018) Soil quality - A critical review. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Volume 120, May 2018, pp 105-125
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.
We start by reviewing how soil quality has been defined and how the concept has been used to broaden the understanding of the ecosystem services that soil provides.
»Concepts of soil quality.
The evolution of concepts of soil fertility, land quality, soil capability, quality and health as well as linking soil quality to soin functions and ecosystem services are outlined in
»Concepts related to soil assessment
A plethora of soil quality assessment and monitoring tools have become available since the 1990s. We give an overview of the main developments in anaytical and visual soil assessment in different countries.
»Approaches to soil quality assessment
The choice of soil quality indicators is discussed in-depth with respect to requirements of indicators and methods to select a minimum dataset. A compilation of the most frequently proposed indicators is followed by sections on novel soil quality indicators with potential added value and on the interpretation of indicator values, including the potential aggregation into an operational soil quality index and its disadvantages.
»Requirements for soil quality indicators
»Methods for selecting a minimum data set
»Frequently proposed soil quality indicators
»Novel soil quality indicators
»Interpretation of indicator values
»Deriving a soil quality index and alternatives
»Stakeholder involvement in developing and using soil quality assessment schemes
Finally we propose the crucial steps to be taken for successful soil quality assessment and analyze to what extent these have been implemented so far. Fostering soil quality is considered in the wider context of enhancing environmental quality, embedded in an interactive process of co-creation of knowledge by scientists and other actors in urgent transitions towards sustainable use and management of natural resources.
»Conclusions & outlook