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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2005 Oct;62(2):211-29.

Ecological classification and assessment concepts in soil protection.

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  • 1Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box 1, NL 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands. ton.breure@rivm.nl


Evaluation of ecological soil quality requires the integration of physical, chemical, and biological variables. From a biological point of view, the maintenance of biodiversity and the assurance of life support functions are the main goals of protection to secure sustainable land use. To reach these goals, biological concepts for the classification and assessment of soils were developed in various countries, most of them based on similar concepts in limnology and aquatic ecotoxicology, which are already routinely applied. In this article, an overview of existing concepts, as well as a detailed description of the two most promising ones (BISQ from The Netherlands and BBSK from Germany), is given, followed by a discussion of the properties essential to an ideal biological concept for soil protection. Finally, recommendations for further research and a basic outline of a monitoring program ready for immediate use are provided.

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