• Soil biodiversity, biological indicators and soil ecosystem services - an overview of European approaches

      Pulleman, Mirjam; Creamer, Rachel E.; Hamer, Ute; Helder, Johannes; Pelosi, Celine; Peres, Guenola; Rutgers, Michiel (Elsevier, 2012-11)
      Soil biota are essential for many soil processes and functions, yet there is an increasing pressure on soil biodiversity and soil degradation remains a pertinent issue. Therefore, the sustainable management of soils requires soil monitoring, including biological indicators able to relate land use and management to soil functioning and ecosystem services. Since the 1990’s, biological soil parameters have been assessed in an increasing number of field trials and monitoring programmes across Europe. The development and effective use of meaningful and widely applicable bio-indicators however, continues to be a challenging tasks. This paper aims to provide an overview of current knowledge in relation to soil biodiversity characterization and assessment. Examples of European monitoring approaches and soil biodiversity indicators are presented, and the value of soil biodiversity databases for developing a better understanding of the relations between soil management and ecosystem functions and services is discussed. We conclude that integration of monitoring approaches and data sets, together with state-of-the art ecological expertise, offers good opportunities for advancing ecological theory as well as application of such knowledge by decision makers.