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Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services$
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Diana H. Wall, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.001.0001

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Ecosystem Services Provided by the Soil Biota

Ecosystem Services Provided by the Soil Biota

Chapter:
(p.45) Chapter 1.3 Ecosystem Services Provided by the Soil Biota
Source:
Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services
Author(s):

Lijbert Brussaard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.003.0005

This chapter connects the soil biota to ecosystem structure and functioning and the concept of ecosystem services, i.e., the benefits people derive from ecosystems, and to the impact of land management and environmental drivers of change upon such phenomena. Carbon (C) transfer through organisms, via fixation and decomposition, is considered as the main integrating factor in ecosystem functioning, along with the associated cycling of nutrients. Functional groups of the soil biota, i.e., groups of organisms perceived as associated with certain ecosystem functions, which may be used for understanding of such C and nutrient transfers, are presented from two contrasting perspectives: a ‘soil biogeochemistry’ perspective on ecosystem functioning, which plays down the importance of functional group detail, vs. a ‘soil biology’ view, which considers such detail as a necessary perspective. Following recent developments in trait-based ecology, functional trait groups, based on organismal- and species-trait diversity, are proposed as more suitable than functional groups based on species diversity per se, in order to relate drivers of change to soil biota-mediated ecosystem functioning and services. Such knowledge is useful when extending fundamental understanding of ecosystem functioning to practical management for enhanced ecosystem services. This concept is then elaborated for agro-ecosystems and agricultural landscapes.

Keywords:   ecosystem service, functional trait groups, soil biota

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