Sustainable soils: Introduction

TitleSustainable soils: Introduction
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSix J., Herrick JE
Book TitleSoil Ecology and Ecosystem Services
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN Number13: 978-0199575923
ARIS Log Number274318

The six chapters in the final section of the book address the role of soil biota in a wider context of maintaining soil resources for sustaining the earth’s capacity to provide critical ecosystem services. This is quite possibly the most important, and frequently overlooked, function that soil biota provide. Without soil biota, the soil resource as we know it would not exist, and soil recovery in most ecosystems would proceed at orders of magnitude less than a snail’s pace. Net primary productivity would be dramatically reduced by much slower rates of nutrient cycling, and therefore lower plant nutrient availability and nutrient effects would be exacerbated by water limitations as the lack of a stable soil structure would maintain relatively low plant available water holding capacities and even lower infiltration rates. Together, these chapters provide a summary of current knowledge and remaining challenges to identify, measure and generalize the importance of soil biota for sustaining soil resources and their related ecosystem services in agroecosystems.