Soils are the nexus of water, energy and food, which illustrates the need for a holistic approach in sustainable soil management. The present study therefore aimed at identifying a bioindicator for the evaluation of soil management sustainability in a cross-disciplinary approach between soil science and multi-omics research. For this purpose we first discuss the remaining problems and challenges of evaluating sustainability and consequently suggest one measurable bioindicator for soil management sustainability. In this concept, we define soil sustainability as the maintenance of soil functional integrity. The potential to recover functional and structural integrity after a disturbance is generally defined as resilience. This potential is a product of the past and the present soil management, and at the same time prospect of possible soil responses to future disturbances. Additionally, it is correlated with the multiple soil functions and hence reflecting the multifunctionality of the soil system. Consequently, resilience can serve as a bioindicator for soil sustainability. The measurable part of soil resilience is the response diversity, calculated from the systematic contrasting of multi-omic markers for genetic potential and functional activity, and referred to as potential Maximum Ecological Performance (MEPpot) in this study. Calculating MEPpot will allow to determine the thresholds of resistance and resilience and potential tipping points for a regime shift towards irreversible or permanent unfavorable soil states for each individual soil considered. The calculation of such ecosystem thresholds is to our opinion the current global cross-disciplinary challenge.
Engineering Failure Analysis – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2018
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