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Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4432;

Assessment and Governance of Sustainable Soil Management

Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) e.V., 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, 16225 Eberswalde, Germany
Division Agriculture and Food Policy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10099 Berlin, Germany
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Permoserstraße 15, 04315 Leipzig, Germany
Professorship of Ecological Services, Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, BayCEER, University of Bayreuth, Universitaetsstr. 30, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 7 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment and Governance of Sustainable Soil Management)
PDF [589 KB, uploaded 27 November 2018]


The globally increasing demand for food, fiber, and bio-based products interferes with the ability of arable soils to perform their multiple functions and support sustainable development. Sustainable soil management under high production conditions means that soil functions contribute to ecosystem services and biodiversity, natural and economic resources are utilized efficiently, farming remains profitable, and production conditions adhere to ethical and health standards. Research in support of sustainable soil management requires an interdisciplinary approach to three interconnected challenges: (i) understanding the impacts of soil management on soil processes and soil functions; (ii) assessing the sustainability impacts of soil management, taking into account the heterogeneity of geophysical and socioeconomic conditions; and (iii) having a systemic understanding of the driving forces and constraints of farmers’ decision-making on soil management and how governance instruments may, interacting with other driving forces, steer sustainable soil management. The intention of this special issue is to take stock of an emerging interdisciplinary research field addressing the three challenges of sustainable soil management in various geographic settings. In this editorial, we summarize the contributions to the special issue and place them in the context of the state of the art. We conclude with an outline of future research needs. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil functions; agricultural practices; sustainability assessment; ecosystem services; resource use efficiency; soil policy; soil governance soil functions; agricultural practices; sustainability assessment; ecosystem services; resource use efficiency; soil policy; soil governance

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Helming, K.; Daedlow, K.; Hansjürgens, B.; Koellner, T. Assessment and Governance of Sustainable Soil Management. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4432.

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