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Please note that this session was withdrawn and is no longer available in the respective programme. This withdrawal might have been the result of a merge with another session.


Soil biota driven functions and ecosystem services in agricultural systems of Europe
Convener: Rachel Creamer  | Co-Conveners: Martin Potthoff , Johann Zaller , Stefan Schrader 

The global policy agenda stresses that a sustainable future principally relies on: (1) the production of enough food to feed a growing world population; (2) the efficient use of the world’s natural resources such as water, soil and nutrients. The Soil Thematic Strategy (2006) identified five key soil functions, which are of utmost importance in agricultural systems: 1) production of food, fibre and fuel, 2) carbon cycling and storage, 3) water purification and regulation, 4) cycling and sequestration of external nutrients added to the soil and 5) a habitat for biodiversity.
All soils have the capability to perform multiple functions simultaneously, but the delivery of each function varies across soil types, land uses and climatic regions. To add to which, there is a fragile interaction between soil management and the delivery of soil functions, pushing the system to deliver one function at the cost of all others, results in an unsustainable system. It is however unlikely that all functions will be delivered maximally in any given situation. Can we propose an optimum, with e.g. three out of the five functions to ensure future sustainability?
Soil biota provides services that are beneficial to the productivity and sustainability of land use systems. This symposium aims to discuss how land use systems affect soil biodiversity in Europe and how soil biodiversity (i.e. the performance of functional groups) feeds back to soil functions and ecosystem services. Knowledge is mounting that a sustainable intensification of land use needs to include the conservation of processes and functions run by soil biota that are essential for self-preservation considering services provided by soil biota including soil biodiversity. The joined European agricultural policy including soil and biodiversity conservation is asking for surveys throughout Europe. The strong progress in developing methods for biodiversity determination in soil and the quantification of biota specific impacts should be mirrored by the contributions. Moreover, transversal interactions with socio-economical sciences should lead to the development of tools to assess soil management as a social-ecological issue.
This session will focus on the role of soil biology in delivering soil functions in agricultural systems and the synergies and trade-offs that occur within the bundle of soil functions, crossing several spatial and temporal scales. Additionally we welcome contributions aiming at promotion of agricultural practices that aim to optimize the multi-functionality of soils.