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Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services$
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Diana H. Wall, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.001.0001

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(p.395) Synthesis
Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services

Jeffrey E. Herrick

Johan Six

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a synthesis of the discussions in Section 5. The chapters support the fundamental role of soil biota in sustaining soil structure and nutrient cycling as the foundation for nearly all ecosystem services, while illustrating the challenges of documenting explicit, consistent relationships. The synthesis discusses five key lessons: 1) the importance of spatial and temporal context for interpreting soil biota–sustainability relationships; 2) the importance of systematic approaches, common methods, and protocols to study soil biota–sustainability relationships; 3) the value of long-term studies for identifying and validating functional relationships, particularly where chronic, cumulative, and acute disturbances are involved; 4) the potential value of local knowledge for identifying, documenting, and monitoring these relationships; and 5) the extent to which hysteresis must be considered to understand and predict the potential contribution of soil biota to resilience and restoration.

Keywords:   soil structure, nutrient cycling, ecosystem services, soil management, soil biota, sustainability

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