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Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2161-2188;

Threats to Sustainability of Soil Functions in Central and Southeast Europe

Department of Soil Science, Gaziosmanpasa University, Tokat 60240, Turkey
Department of Biosystem Engineering, Kahramanmaraş Sutcu Imam University, Kahramanmaras 46100, Turkey
Institute of Crop Production, Szent István University, H-2103 Gödöllő, Hungary
Department of Biosystem Engineering, Gaziosmanpasa University, Tokat 60240, Turkey
Department of Hydrotechnics, Politehnica University of Timisoara, Timisoara 300006, Romania
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 14 December 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enhancing Soil Health to Mitigate Soil Degradation)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2141 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]   |  


A diverse topography along with deforestation, changing climatic conditions, long-term human settlement, overuse of agricultural lands without sustainable planning, cultural difficulties in accepting conservative land management practices, and wrong political decisions have increased the vulnerability of many soils to degradation and resulted in a serious decline in their functional capacity. A progressive reduction in the capacity of soils to support plant productivity is not only a threat in the African continent and its large desert zone, but also in several parts of Central and Southeastern Europe (CASEE). The loss of soil functions throughout CASEE is mainly related to the human activities that have profound influence on soil dynamic characteristics. Improper management of soils has made them more vulnerable to degradation through water and wind erosion, organic matter depletion, salinity, acidification, crusting and sealing, and compaction. Unmitigated degradation has substantial implications for long term sustainability of the soils’ capability to support human communities and resist desertification. If sustainable agricultural and land management practices are not identified, well understood and implemented, the decline in soil quality will continue and probably accelerate. The lack of uniform criteria for the assessment and evaluation of soil quality in CASEE countries prevents scientific assessments to determine if existing management practices are leading to soil quality improvement, or if not, what management practices should be recommended to mitigate and reverse the loss of soil health. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil health; degradation; land management; erosion; Central and Southeast Europe soil health; degradation; land management; erosion; Central and Southeast Europe

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Günal, H.; Korucu, T.; Birkas, M.; Özgöz, E.; Halbac-Cotoara-Zamfir, R. Threats to Sustainability of Soil Functions in Central and Southeast Europe. Sustainability 2015, 7, 2161-2188.

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