Assessing Impacts of Soil Management Measures on Ecosystem Services
Schwilch, Gudrun; Lemann, Tatenda; Berglund, Örjan; Camarotto, Carlo; Cerdà, Artemi; Daliakopoulos, Ioannis N.; Kohnová, Silvia; Krzeminska, Dominika; Maranon, Teodoro; Rietra, René; Siebielec, Grzegorz; Thorsson, Johann; Tibbett, Mark; Valente, Sandra; van Delden, Hedwig; van den Akker, Jan; Verzandvoort, Simone; Vrînceanu, Nicoleta Olimpia; Zoumides, Christos; Hessel, Rudi
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSustainability. 2018, 10 (12), . 10.3390/su10124416
Only a few studies have quantified and measured ecosystem services (ES) specifically related to soil. To address this gap, we have developed and applied a methodology to assess changes in ecosystem services, based on measured or estimated soil property changes that were stimulated by soil management measures (e.g., mulching, terracing, no-till). We applied the ES assessment methodology in 16 case study sites across Europe representing a high diversity of soil threats and land use systems. Various prevention and remediation measures were trialled, and the changes in manageable soil and other natural capital properties were measured and quantified. An Excel tool facilitated data collection, calculation of changes in ecosystem services, and visualization of measured short-term changes and estimated long-term changes at plot level and for the wider area. With this methodology, we were able to successfully collect and compare data on the impact of land management on 15 different ecosystem services from 26 different measures. Overall, the results are positive in terms of the impacts of the trialled measures on ecosystem services, with 18 out of 26 measures having no decrease in any service at the plot level. Although methodological challenges remain, the ES assessment was shown to be a comprehensive evaluation of the impacts of the trialled measures, and also served as an input to a stakeholder valuation of ecosystem services at local and sub-national levels.