The importance of soil quality and its functions such as nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, water quality and biodiversity for a sustainable agriculture is more and more recognized. As a limited resource, soil is permanently under pressure and new management strategies for optimizing yields are developed continuously. It often remains unclear how such management strategies influence the various soil functions and their interactions.
Computational models can help to understand and predict effects of a changing environment on soil functions and their relationship by describing soil processes and organism dynamics. However, combining different interrelated functions and processes of a complex system such as soil remain rather challenging.
With this session, we want to address several open questions for tackling this challenge, including (but not limited to): How to quantify soil functions for parametrizing such models? What is the specific relationship between different soil functions? How much details are needed to adequately describe the system, while keeping models simple enough for understanding their dynamics? How important is the incorporation of space? What can we gain from such models to optimize field experiments? How should such models be designed to provide implications for management strategies?
We invite contributions on theoretical and mechanistic simulation models incorporating one or more soil functions relevant for agricultural systems; as well as experimental or field studies which may help to improve modelling approaches.
We especially aim to stimulate a discussion with experts from various fields of soil science including biology, physics, and chemistry.