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Soil Quality and Biodiversity

The Section of Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology is and has been involved in many projects linking  soil biodiversity with soil quality and soil ecosystem services. The Section also developed the Danish Ecotoxicological Soil Quality Criteria for a wide set of chemicals back in the 90’s, when national focus was on this matter.

In the 7th EU Framework program, the Section of Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology participate in the R&D project: Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils (ECOFINDERS). A short version of the project summary can be found below:

The strategic goal is to provide the EC with tools to design and implement soil strategies aimed at ensuring sustainable use of soils, including:

  1. Characterisation of European soil biodiversity;
  2. Determination of relations between soil biodiversity, soil functions and ecosystem services;
  3. Design of policy-relevant and cost-effective indicators for monitoring soil biodiversity.

To obtain those objectives, the project will:

  1. Develop and standardise tools and procedures to measure microbial and faunal diversity;
  2. Describe the diversity of soil organisms (microorganisms and fauna);
  3. Decipher the interactions among soil organisms and with plants through food webs;
  4. Determine the role played by soil organisms in soil ecosystem services, like nutrient cycling, carbon storage, water retention, soil structure regulation and resistance to pests and diseases;
  5. Establish cost-effective bio-indicators for measuring sustainability of the microbial and faunal diversity and their associated functions (using a combination of metrics and meta-analysis);
  6. Evaluate the economic value of ecosystem services and the added value of these bio-indicators;
  7. Develop and implement effective communication strategies to engage the European public in issues associated with the sustainability of soil biodiversity.


John Jensen

Deputy Head of Department, Senior Researcher


Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology
Aarhus Universitet
Institut for Bioscience
Vejlsøvej 25
8600 Silkeborg