Special Issue "Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference""

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Alex McBratney
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Interests: soil sciences; precision agriculture; pedometrics; digital soil mapping
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Tony Capon
Website
Guest Editor
School of Medicine, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Interests: environmental health and health promotion; urbanization; sustainable development and human health
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Cristine L. S. Morgan
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, TX, USA
Interests: soil science; pedometrics; pedology; proximal soil sensing; modeling soil processes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Assoc. Prof. Damien Field
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Interests: solve the real-world problems challenging agriculture and the environment; global soil security; soil education
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soil security refers to the maintenance and improvement of the world’s soil resource to produce food, fiber and fresh water, while also contributing to energy and climate stability, maintaining biodiversity and protecting natural systems and human wellbeing more generally. 

Planetary health is about safeguarding the health and wellbeing of current and future generations through good stewardship of Earth’s natural systems, and by re-thinking the way we feed, move, house, power and care for the world. 

Soil security is an essential foundation for planetary health because the vast majority of terrestrial biodiversity is found within soil or is reliant on soils and 97% of the world’s food comes from agricultural soils. 

The aims of the conference are:

  • through multidisciplinary discourse, we will review, develop and synthesize the concepts of soil security and planetary health, focusing on the role of soil in overall planetary health.
  • we will highlight to a wider audience key examples of threats to soil security and measures to improve soil security from across the planet.
  • from improved understanding generated through the conference, we aim to provide clearer measurement systems and policy frameworks for stewardship and sustainable use of the Earth’s

The Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference Organising Committee are seeking papers on the five core dimensions of soil security:

  • Capability
  • Condition
  • Capital
  • Connectivity
  • Codification

as well as the wider issues of:

  • Soil security in the city
  • Connecting consumers to soil managers
  • Soil, provenance and human health
  • Soil, biodiversity and human health
  • Rethinking soil value
  • Soil and health in a circular economy
  • Public and private sector soil governance
  • Soil condition and soil health

Prof. Dr. Alex McBratney
Prof. Dr. Tony Capon
Prof. Dr. Cristine L. S. Morgan
Assoc. Prof. Damien Field
Guest editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Roadmap for Valuing Soil Ecosystem Services to Inform Multi-Level Decision-Making in Agriculture
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5285; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195285 - 25 Sep 2019
Abstract
Agricultural soils contribute to human welfare through their generation of manifold ecosystem services such as food security, water quality and climate regulation, but these are degraded by common farming practices. We have developed a roadmap for evaluating the contribution of both private- and [...] Read more.
Agricultural soils contribute to human welfare through their generation of manifold ecosystem services such as food security, water quality and climate regulation, but these are degraded by common farming practices. We have developed a roadmap for evaluating the contribution of both private- and public-good ecosystem services generated by agricultural soils to societal welfare. The approach considers the needs of decision-makers at different levels, from farmers to policy-makers. This we achieve through combining production functions—to quantify the impacts of alternative management practices on agricultural productivity and soil ecosystem services—with non-market valuation of changes in public-good ecosystem services and benefit–cost analysis. The results show that the net present value to society of implementing soil-friendly measures are substantial, but negative for farmers in our study region. Although we apply our roadmap to an intensive farming region in Sweden, we believe our results have broad applicability, because farmers do not usually account for the value of public-good ecosystem services. We therefore conclude that market outcomes are not likely to be generating optimal levels of soil ecosystem services from society’s perspective. Innovative governance institutions are needed to resolve this market failure to safeguard the welfare of future generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference")
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Assessment of Environmental Soil Functions in Volcanic Zones from Mexico Using S&E Software
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4552; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174552 - 22 Aug 2019
Abstract
Making quantitative evaluations of the environmental functions of the soil in a quantitative way is an urgent necessity for transitioning towards the sustainable use of soils. The objective of this work was to use and improve the Soil and Environment software for soils [...] Read more.
Making quantitative evaluations of the environmental functions of the soil in a quantitative way is an urgent necessity for transitioning towards the sustainable use of soils. The objective of this work was to use and improve the Soil and Environment software for soils of volcanic areas, for which the software was not designed to work on. The study was conducted in the volcanic area of Michoacan, Mexico. Nine soil profiles were described; samples were taken from each horizon and the physical and chemical properties of each sample were analyzed. The Soil and Environment software was used to conduct pedoecological evaluations of the soil samples and, subsequently, an evaluation of the environmental functions of the soils and the modeling of scenarios was carried out. The soil profiles studied showed variable properties of hydraulic conductivity, field capacity, air capacity, effective cation exchange capacity, and soil organic carbon. The soils showed very high nutrient retention, high naturalness and sorption of heavy metals, and low cultural and natural archive properties. The Soil and Environment software generally works well with soils of volcanic areas; however, we suggest improvements in the evaluation method of the following functions: naturalness and agricultural quality. Additionally, the estimating method of aeration capacity and hydraulic conductivity should be calibrated for the properties of the volcanic soils. The modeling of scenarios allowed us to identify the soil profiles that are most vulnerable to degradation. The modeling of scenarios provided a clear idea of the negative and positive effects that a change in soil use would have. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference")
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Open AccessArticle
On Soil Capability, Capacity, and Condition
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3350; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123350 - 17 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The role of soil in the existential environmental problems of declining biodiversity, climate change, water and energy security, impacting on food security has highlighted the need to link the soil functions to ecosystem services. We describe and illustrate by a limited example, the [...] Read more.
The role of soil in the existential environmental problems of declining biodiversity, climate change, water and energy security, impacting on food security has highlighted the need to link the soil functions to ecosystem services. We describe and illustrate by a limited example, the concepts and assessment of soil’s capacity measured through its capability and condition as contributors to an overall soil security framework. The framework is based on the concepts of genosoils and phenosoils. The links to other notions, such as threats to soil and soil functions are made. The framework can be potentially applied elsewhere to quantify soil changes under natural processes and human activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference")
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping of Soils and Land-Related Environmental Attributes in France: Analysis of End-Users’ Needs
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2940; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102940 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The 1:250,000 soil mapping program of France is nearly complete. Although mapping has been conducted using conventional methods, there is a discernible need to obtain more precise soil data using other methods, and this is attracting considerable attention. However, it is currently not [...] Read more.
The 1:250,000 soil mapping program of France is nearly complete. Although mapping has been conducted using conventional methods, there is a discernible need to obtain more precise soil data using other methods, and this is attracting considerable attention. However, it is currently not possible to implement a conventional and systematic program throughout the French territory, as the cost of acquiring new data on a finer scale is too high. In light of this, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioned a national survey to determine the needs of soil mapping in France, which asked questions to soil data producers and end-users. The results presented here summarize the main needs expressed by end-users. The main topics covered by soil mapping applications are identified in addition to the main mismatches between topics currently covered using available soil maps and the needs of end-users. Certain priorities for producing new soil information are identified in relation to geographical environments and settings, soil attributes, the spatial resolution of maps and the use of uncertainty estimates. Digital Soil Mapping is identified as a method that can bridge economic, scientific and practical considerations, but it requires dedicated efforts in order to build capacity. Finally, there is discussion of how the consideration of user needs can be employed to enhance the contribution of a new Digital Soil Mapping era, and to launch an operational soil security paradigm in France. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference")
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Open AccessCommunication
Orthodox Soil Science versus Alternative Philosophies: A Clash of Cultures in a Modern Context
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2919; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102919 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In Australia, orthodox soil scientists dealing with land management and alternative practitioners who promote ‘regenerative agriculture’ have not been communicating and engaging effectively with each other. Over many years, scientists in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), state departments and universities [...] Read more.
In Australia, orthodox soil scientists dealing with land management and alternative practitioners who promote ‘regenerative agriculture’ have not been communicating and engaging effectively with each other. Over many years, scientists in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), state departments and universities have made significant achievements in mapping soil distribution, describing soil behaviour and identifying key soil properties and processes that are fundamental to healthy soil function. However, many alternative practitioners are dismissive of these achievements and highly critical of orthodox soil science. Yet many of the tools of soil science are essential to conduct evidence-based research towards elucidating how and why the exceptional results claimed by some alternative practitioners are achieved. We stress the importance of effective engagement and communication among all parties to resolve this ‘clash of cultures’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference")

Review

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Open AccessReview
The Opportunities and Risks of the Soil Security Metaphor: A Review
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4464; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164464 - 18 Aug 2019
Abstract
Language both represents and constructs our reality. Soil Security is a proposed new frame for encouraging the systematic and interdisciplinary approaches to soil research needed to address complex needs. This bold attempt at reframing may, however, have numerous consequences in addition to its [...] Read more.
Language both represents and constructs our reality. Soil Security is a proposed new frame for encouraging the systematic and interdisciplinary approaches to soil research needed to address complex needs. This bold attempt at reframing may, however, have numerous consequences in addition to its central intent. This review paper explores words and discourses related to ‘Soil Security’. Current understanding of how language frames reality is presented, emphasising the roles of metaphor and entailments. Soil Security is then situated in relation to the broader construct of Environmental Security, with references to security of water, food and energy. Against this background, aspects of Soil Security are explored, and some cautions issued to users of the term. The soil science community is urged to actively consider the implications and nuances of any discourse, including that of Soil Security, with which it engages, or risk being led to operate in unintended or unwelcome ways. To guide this engagement, the review paper concludes with suggestions on how to reflect on the practice of soil science and its role in the future of humanity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference")
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Open AccessReview
Volcanic Ash, Insecurity for the People but Securing Fertile Soil for the Future
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3072; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113072 - 31 May 2019
Abstract
Volcanic eruptions affect land and humans globally. When a volcano erupts, tons of volcanic ash materials are ejected to the atmosphere and deposited on land. The hazard posed by volcanic ash is not limited to the area in proximity to the volcano, but [...] Read more.
Volcanic eruptions affect land and humans globally. When a volcano erupts, tons of volcanic ash materials are ejected to the atmosphere and deposited on land. The hazard posed by volcanic ash is not limited to the area in proximity to the volcano, but can also affect a vast area. Ashes ejected from volcano’s affect people’s daily life and disrupts agricultural activities and damages crops. However, the positive outcome of this natural event is that it secures fertile soil for the future. This paper examines volcanic ash (tephra) from a soil security view-point, mainly its capability. This paper reviews the positive aspects of volcanic ash, which has a high capability to supply nutrients to plant, and can also sequester a large amount of carbon out of the atmosphere. We report some studies around the world, which evaluated soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation since volcanic eruptions. The mechanisms of SOC protection in volcanic ash soil include organo-metallic complexes, chemical protection, and physical protection. Two case studies of volcanic ash from Mt. Talang and Sinabung in Sumatra, Indonesia showed the rapid accumulation of SOC through lichens and vascular plants. Volcanic ash plays an important role in the global carbon cycle and ensures soil security in volcanic regions of the world in terms of boosting its capability. However, there is also a human dimension, which does not go well with volcanic ash. Volcanic ash can severely destroy agricultural areas and farmers’ livelihoods. Connectivity and codification needs to ensure farming in the area to take into account of risk and build appropriate adaptation and resilient strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference")
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Other

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Open AccessDiscussion
Soil Security for Australia
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3416; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123416 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Soil Security is an emerging sustainability science concept with global application for guiding integrated approaches to land management, while balancing ecosystem services, environmental, social, cultural, and economic imperatives. This discussion paper sets the scene for an Australian Soil Security framework as an example [...] Read more.
Soil Security is an emerging sustainability science concept with global application for guiding integrated approaches to land management, while balancing ecosystem services, environmental, social, cultural, and economic imperatives. This discussion paper sets the scene for an Australian Soil Security framework as an example of how it might be developed for any country, defining the key issues and justification for Soil Security, as well as detailing implementation requirements and benefits; two examples of beneficial outcomes are provided in terms of facilitating decommoditization of agricultural products and the impact of urban encroachment on productive land. We highlight research gaps, where new knowledge will contribute to well-rounded approaches that reflect differing stakeholder perspectives. We also provide key nomenclature associated with a potential Soil Security framework so that future discussions may use a common language. Through this work we invite scientific and policy discourse with the aim of developing more informed responses to the myriad of competing demands placed on our soil systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "Soil Security and Planetary Health Conference")
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