Soil indicators for assessing ecosystem services and soil health status
Convener: Stefano Mocali | Co-conveners: Jack H. Faber, Isabelle Cousin, Romina Lorenzetti

Soil functions contribute to provide (soil-based) ecosystem services (ES), here defined as the benefits human obtain from the ecosystem. Although most of these functions are related to the soil biological activity, the current status and trends in soil biodiversity across Europe are poorly known, and adequate taxonomical and functional indicators are needed to evaluate the vulnerability of soils and its ES to climate change. Thus, in order to assess the health status of soils, i.e. its capacity of continuous provision of ecosystem services, there is the need to define robust indicators for assessment and monitoring, in joint programming with participating Member States’ national policy and programmes for soil quality monitoring, with taking into account not only biological processes but embracing all the bio-chemical-physical processes occurring in soils. As soil-based ecosystem services co-occur in space and overlap interacting at different spatial and temporal scales, their spatial distribution, as well as their spatial synergies and trade-offs must also be known.
The aim of this session is then collecting contributions on functional indicators, their modelling and mapping, as well as methodological approaches and applications aimed to the characterization of bundles of soil ES and soil threats. The definition and evaluation of indicators including specific references to soil biodiversity and target values for healthy soils are particularly welcome.