Integrating Soil Biodiversity into Ecosystem Services


To pave the way for a future of soil health, it is of utmost importance to integrate soil biodiversity (SOB) into land management. Currently, soil biodiversity gets less attention in large monitoring efforts than higher plants and vertebrates. As a result, its contribution to ecosystem services (ES) is undervalued, unquantified, and lacks incorporation into EU policies. This is where SOB4ES comes in. The EU-funded project will significantly contribute to the "A Soil Deal for Europe" mission, with a specific focus on enhancing soil structure and devising SOB-friendly management practices. The outcomes will play a pivotal role in shaping policy incentives aimed at safeguarding SOB at the EU level, with the ultimate objective of ensuring that all EU soils achieve a state of robust biological health by 2050.

To achieve these ambitious goals, the SOB4ES research team will conduct a thorough assessment of soil biodiversity. This will encompass the examination of soil composition, spatiotemporal dynamics, and the intricate interplay with aboveground biodiversity. The team will also closely scrutinise ecological network structures, investigating their responses to an array of land-use patterns and intensities. The identification of factors, both natural and anthropogenic, that drive alterations in soil biodiversity is integral to the design and implementation of land management practices that are harmonious with soil biodiversity preservation.


To ultimately incorporate soil biodiversity into EU policies, SOB4ES will establish a cohesive evaluation framework that will effectively determine the cost-effectiveness of SOB indicators in various ecosystems, taking into account different land-use categories and levels of activity, which will be instrumental in pinpointing key regions that require ecological restoration and conservation efforts.

Furthermore, SOB4ES strives to heighten public consciousness and appreciation of the essential role played by soil biodiversity in ecosystem services. This goal will be achieved through knowledge-sharing and community involvement initiatives, further enhancing societal understanding of this vital aspect.