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Trends Ecol Evol. 2016 Jun;31(6):440-452. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2016.02.016. Epub 2016 Mar 16.

An Underground Revolution: Biodiversity and Soil Ecological Engineering for Agricultural Sustainability.

Author information

1
Plant-Soil Interactions, Agroscope Institute for Sustainability Sciences, 8046 Zurich, Switzerland.
2
Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
3
Plant-Soil Interactions, Agroscope Institute for Sustainability Sciences, 8046 Zurich, Switzerland; Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland; Plant-Microbe Interactions, Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: marcel.vanderheijden@agroscope.admin.ch.

Abstract

Soil organisms are an integral component of ecosystems, but their activities receive little recognition in agricultural management strategies. Here we synthesize the potential of soil organisms to enhance ecosystem service delivery and demonstrate that soil biodiversity promotes multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously (i.e., ecosystem multifunctionality). We apply the concept of ecological intensification to soils and we develop strategies for targeted exploitation of soil biological traits. We compile promising approaches to enhance agricultural sustainability through the promotion of soil biodiversity and targeted management of soil community composition. We present soil ecological engineering as a concept to generate human land-use systems, which can serve immediate human needs while minimizing environmental impacts.

PMID:
26993667
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2016.02.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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