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Soil system profiling in the Netherlands with ten references for biological soil quality

Typeringen van bodemecosystemen in Nederland met tien referenties voor biologische bodemkwaliteit

Synopsis

RIVM and other institutes described ten soil system profiles (the so-called biological soil references) according to the soil quality as inferred from existing empirical evidence of previously investigated sites. This is a pilot study, since no specific protocol has yet been established. These new references aim to be used as benchmarks to implement a more sustainable use of soils. References were derived from a combination of data from land-use (e.g. dairy farms, arable fields and heathlands) and soil type (sand, peat, clay and loess). Our approach covers the soils of about three-quarters of the surface of the Netherlands. Several scientists, with expertise ranging from soil ecology and microbiology up to rural management, selected sites where data was seen by them as representative of good soil quality. For this purpose these scientists used soil monitoring data from the Netherlands Soil Monitoring Network (in Dutch: LMB). The ten references were derived from empirical data. This report also provides the averages and frequency distributions of biological, chemical and physical soil characteristics. The extent to which soil organisms occur has been described as well as their biodiversity.
 

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