Sustainability Assessment and governance of soil functions and soil use
How important are soil functions and soil use for the environment and for human wellbeing? What role do soil functions play for achieving sustainable development goals or enhancing the development of a bioeconomy? The core idea of BonaRes, to maintain and improve soil fertility, is one of the tasks formulated in the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development as part of achieving the second of 17 sustainable development goals: „End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”. BonaRes is mentioned in the revised German Sustainable Development Strategy of 2017 as important research program for contributing to the scientific evidence base for achieving this goal.
BonaRes develops an assessment platform (>>) featuring methods, tools and best practice example for the sustainability assessment of soil functions (>>) in regards to ecosystem services and societal targets. Thereby, we identify linkages between soil systems, soil management, and societal value systems. Here, soil functions are the interface between soil process analysis and modelling (>>) on the one side and its sustainability assessment on the other side. Assessment methods are developed for different system levels and assessment purposes. This includes the farming system, for which cost efficiency and cost effectiveness is essential. At landscape level, soil functions are valued with regards to their contribution to ecosystem services and to resource efficiencies in terms of water, energy, land and raw material. Overall, ethical considerations deliver important benchmarks for the assessment of soil functions, for example as theoretical basis for the precautionary principle, for intergenerational equity, for assessing the local contribution to global sustainable development goals. Since the relative importance of soil functions and services varies across locations and time, assessments consider spatiotemporal dimensions. The assessments are the basis for the development of sufficient governance instruments (>>) at policy and market levels, that have the potential to improve soil use and functions and integrate their values with societal demand systems.