BonaRes Glossary 

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]



The BonaRes Glossary is a selection of terms with definitions and translations that are in the BonaRes context. In most cases, existing definitions from the AGROVOC were used and sources were identified accordingly. The glossary (currently in version 1.9) is a product of the BonaRes – Centre for Soil Research and is available for all interested parties. Any proposed changes should be sent to info(at)



Download here the current Glossary in PDF format. 

A <<

  • (Technology) Acceptance analysis: “A method to examine individual’s decision to accept a technology (or something else) that is based on intention-based theories and other influencing factors pertinent to the technology, the user, and the organization context.” (Hu et al. 2003,
  • Agroecosystems: “A system where communities of plants, microbes and animals inhabiting farmed land, pastures, grasslands or rangelands, interact with each other and their physical environment.” (
  • Agroforestry: “Simultaneous production, temporary or permanent, of forest trees with agricultural crops or animals in the same place” (
  • AGROVOC: Thesaurus of FAO. Covers the following fields of interest: food, nutrition, agriculture, fishery and forestry. It is used for indexation, request and organization of data within agricultural information systems and webpages by scientists, librarians and information managers. It is linked as to several agriculturally oriented organizations worldwide (“Linked Open Data”). (

B <<

  • Backcasting: “An end state is already in mind as the pathways are being developed, although not necessarily assuming that these states are all desirable.”  (O’Neill et al. 2016
  • Bioeconomy: “Bioeconomy (bio-based economy, knowledge-based bio-economy) covers the agricultural economy and all manufacturing sectors and associated service areas that develop, produce, process, handle, or utilise any form of biological resources, such as plants, animals, and microorganisms” (

C <<

  • CAP (Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union): “The set of policy principles, regulations and subsidy mechanisms adopted by the Member States of the European Community that consolidates efforts in promoting or ensuring reasonable pricing of food products, fair standards of living for farmers, stable agricultural markets, increased farm productivity and methods for dealing with food supply or surplus.” (
  • Catch crops: “Minor crops planted after a major one or between major crops in the same growing year in order to use remaining moisture” (
  • Certification: “Procedure by which a third party gives written assurance that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements” (DIN EN ISO 14024:2000)
  • Cloud storage: In general, cloud storage is a service model in which data is managed, secured, and made available to users through a network. 
    The BonaRes Centre provides the ‘team area’ for the exchange of BonaRes relevant content. The Team Area is a web-based storage space managed by the BonaRes Centre for easy exchange of documents and files. All stored data are physically located on BonaRes servers at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) e.V. and are thus subject to German data protection law.
  • Collective action: "Actions taken by two or more people, comprising a group or organization, in pursuit of the same collective good.” (Olson 1965, after
  • Conceptual model (computer science): In computer science, a conceptual model describes a graphical model which depicts factors and functional relations between them. It considers only those structural and procedural factors which are analytically and measurably detectable within the framework of a study and which can be derived from measured figures mathematically. 
  • Cost benefit analysis: “Assesses whether the cost of an intervention is worth the benefit by measuring both in the same units; monetary units are usually used” (

D <<

  • DAFA (German Agricultural Research Alliance): DAFA is a network of German agricultural research and aims at making research more efficient, more transparent and internationally more visible. For example, an expert’s atlas for keyword research is offered by DAFA. (
  • Data Citation Index (on Web of Science): This index is created by Thomson Reuters and aims at simplifying the finding of research data and research studies and to combine them with scientifically peer reviewed publications. (
  • DataCite: Data Cite is a consortium that consists of 47 internationally leading scientific organization with the purpose to simplify the access to research data. Data Cite develops and provides the technical infrastructure, international standards, services and workflows of a global research data infrastructure. An important goal is the increasing of acceptance of research data as an independent and quotable object. Data Cite is one out of ten DOI registration agencies worldwide.
    The BonaRes Data Centre is bound to DataCite by contract and authorized to register DOIs (prefix for domain 10.20387). The metadata scheme developed by DataCite is implemented by the BonaRes Data Centre. All provided data can therefore be labelled with a DOI and are quotable by that. (
  • Data guideline: Rules, e.g. endorsed by research project members that have been developed to simplify collaboration in terms of data management. 
    The BonaRes Data Guideline provides a guideline for the handling, digital storage and free re-use of research data generated in the BonaRes funding initiative, while respecting the intellectual property rights of the owner of the research data and respecting his or her right to the first scientific use, in accordance with the requirements arising from the BonaRes programme allocation of funds.
  • Data set: Within the scope of the BonaRes project, a data set summarizes situational research data in a structured manner. It always contains descriptive information, so called metadata. A data set is always tabular, while a table consists of rows (horizontally) and columns (vertical). Each column contains the attribute name in the first line, and the attribute values in the following lines, that means, the data within the table are column-oriented.
  • Decision support systems: “A computer-based system that enables manage-ment to interrogate the computer system on an ad hoc basis for various kinds of information on the organization and to predict the effect of potential decisions beforehand. Abbreviated DSS.” (
  • DOI: Digital Object Identificator for digitalized objects. A DOI is a pesistent idendificator which is used for quoting and linking of digital objects. There have been DOIs from 2000 onwards. By now, approximately 133 million DOIs were provided. An annual growth rate of 16% can be recorded. Since 2016 the BonaRes Data Centre has been allowed to register DOIs independently. The prefix for the domain is called:10.20387. With the DOIs, the visibility of data has increased and therefore the scientific influence could be enhanced. (
  • DPSIR framework: “The causal framework for describing the interactions between society and the environment adopted by the European Environment Agency: driving forces, pressures, states, impacts, responses (extension of the PSR model developed by OECD).” (

E <<

  • Ecological Intensification: „A pathway towards the production of more agricultural product, the production of “new” things (ecosystem services), and different means of production (environmentally friendly and intensifying the use of the natural functionalities that ecosystems offer”). (Doré et al. 2011,
  • Ecosystem services: “For the purposes of CICES, ecosystem services are defined as the contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being. They are seen as arising from the interaction of biotic and abiotic processes, and refer specifically to the ‘final’ outputs or products from ecological systems. That is, the things directly consumed or used by people. Following common usage, the classification recognises these outputs to be provisioning, regulating and cultural services, but it does not cover the so-called ‘supporting services’ originally defined in the UN Millennium Assessment. The supporting services are treated as part of the underlying structures, process and functions that characterise ecosystems. Since they are only indirectly consumed or used, and may simultaneously facilitate the output of many ‘final outputs’, it was considered that they were best dealt with in environmental accounts, in other ways.” (CICES 2011 (EEA),
  • Edaphobase: “soil-zoological information System, a taxonomic-ecological database system, which combines existing taxonomical primary data on soil organisms from collections, scientific literature and reports etc. originating from many research institutes and persons involved in soil zoology. This data is linked at the species level to ecological background information of the species’ sites of occurrence (i.e. geography, soils, habitat type, climate).“ (
  • Embargo: An embargo defines a period in which the description of the research data (descriptive metadata) can be viewed via the landing page, but the associated data publication is not yet available for viewing or downloading. An embargo can be used when research data (for example, within a peer review process) are to be published with a delay; to secure the scientific right of first use. The embargo period in BonaRes usually starts with the provision of the research data to the Data Centre and is generally limited to 24 months.
  • Equity: “Intergenerational equity: a core proposition is that future generations have a right to an inheritance (capital bequest) sufficient to allow them to generate a level of well-being no less than that of the current generation. Fairness in the treatment of different members of the same generation.” (
  • e-SOTER: The EU financed project e-SOTER (2008-2010) is the European contribution to a global soil observation system aiming at providing soil and terrain data, methods and applications via an internet platform as well as validating them via remote sensing. Among the 14 project partners, BGR and ISRIC were the key players who compiled a data exchange format for soil and terrain data (SoTerML). (,
  • Ethics: “The philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and of the rules and principles that ought to govern it.” (

F <<

  • Federal Soil Protection Act: “The basic idea of the act is the sustainable protection or the restoration of soil functions. The prevention of soil threats and the remediation of harmful changes of soil are mandatory. Furthermore precautionary actions are required.” (
  • FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee): US committee. Publish soil data standards 1997 and e.g. the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM). (
  • FISBo BGR (BGR’s soil information system): The FISBo BGR is part of the national soil information network in Germany, a network of different federal information systems for the provision of pedological information on national and international level. The key components of FISBo BGR are a set of pedological map data bases, the soil profile and analytical data base as well as the method base. Tools for exchange of standardized, harmonized and interoperable digital data (in the context of EU-INSPIRE guidelines) are also be provided by FISBo. (
  • Foresight: “Among features that do characterize it, […] are: Long-term orientation, aimed at informing ongoing decisions in the present […] and grounded in the assumption that the future is in many ways open and can be shaped in positive ways by improved understanding of opportunities and threats, driving forces and underlying processes of change; Use of a range of formal tools and techniques for developing long-term analyses […]; Involvement of a wide pool of expertise, and often stakeholders more generally […]; Crossing disciplinary boundaries and professional compartments […].” (Georghiou 2008, The Handbook of Technology Foresight: Concepts and Practice, Edward Elgar.)
  • Forecast(ing)/Prediction: “Forecasts speculate future values for the population with a certain level of confidence, based on current and past values as an expectation (prediction) of what will happen.” (
  • Functional group: "A collection of organisms with similar suites of co-occurring functional attributes. Groups are traditionally associated with similar responses to external factors and/or effects on ecosystem processes. A functional group is often referred to as ‘guild’, especially when referring to animals, e.g. the feeding types of aquatic organisms having the same function within the trophic chain." (de Bello et al. 2010,

G <<

  • Geodatabase: Geodatabase is an optimized data base system for upload, management and request of spatial data. Spatial data types, data models and operators as well as corresponding sorting and searching procedures enable an efficient processing of geodata.
    Within the BonaRes Data Centre, a relational data base management system is used as a geodatabase for managing all research data with spatial information. 
  • German BioEconomy Research Strategy 2030: „Germany was one of the first countries to publish a six-year, cross-departmental "National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030" at the end of 2010, thus laying the groundwork for a biobased change in industry and society. The strategy was developed under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) together with five other ministries." (ökonomie-deutschland)
  • German Soil Survey Guidelines: The German Soil Survey Guidelines are the agreed basis between the State Geological Surveys of Germany and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) for describing and classifying soils. It is a binding standard in the reinforcement of German federal state laws and regulations relating to soil protection. Currently, the “Soil Survey Guidelines” is at its 5th Edition (KA 5). (Ad-hoc-AG Boden 2005, Bodenkundliche Kartieranleitung (KA5). - 5. Aufl.; Hannover)
  • Global Soil Partnership (GSP): This international cooperation was launched by FAO. It formulates visions, strategies and concrete steps with regard to food security, climate adaption and mitigation. The GSP is built from 5 pillars: Pillar 1: Soil Management, Pillar 2: Awareness raising, Pillar 3: Research, Pillar 4: Information and data and Pillar 5: Harmonization. With these pillars, the goals of BonaRes Module A + B are put into a global context. (
  • Governance: “A system of rules plus the instruments that serve to enforce the rules.” (Furubotn, Richter 1997, after
  • GSDI (Global Spatial Data Infrastructure): “The GSDI Association is an inclusive organization of academic and research institutions, government agencies, commercial firms, NGOs and individuals from around the world. The purpose of the organization is to promote international cooperation and collaboration in support of local, national and international Spatial Data Infrastructure research, education, capacity building and implementation challenges, issues and good practice from around the globe that will allow nations to better address social, economic, and environmental issues of pressing importance.” (

H <<


I <<

  • Impact assessment:  “For researchers, impact assessment is a means to structure the analysis of human environment interactions. For decision makers, impact assessment is a means to better target policy decisions toward sustainable development. The integration of both provides scientific evidence to policy making.” (Helming, Pérez-Soba 2011,

  • Indicators:  “Variable that summarize or otherwise simplify relevant information, make visible or perceptible phenomena of interest, and quantify, measure, and communicate relevant information” (Gallopin 1996,

  • INSPIRE:  Short for “Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe”. Legally implemented by guideline 2007/2 of the European Parliament as in national law of EU member states implemented framework for the development of a European Geodata infrastructure.

    The purpose is a better accessibility to environmentally relevant geodata regarding 34 topics. The guideline contains regulations on metadata, data exchange formats, rules on data interoperability and provision. It promotes and supports the establishment of web-based online services for searching, visualization and download of digitally available geodata. (

  • Institutions:  “Conventions, norms and formally sanctioned rules of a society, including their enforcement characteristics.” (Vatn 2005, North 1994, after

  • Interdisciplinary research:  “Integration of mindsets and methods from different scientific disciplines and cooperation across their borders to develop new methodological approaches and research results that would be inconceivable from a single disciplinary perspective” (Daedlow et al. 2016,

  • ISRIC (International Soil Reference and Information Centre): Is an independent, science-based foundation located in Wageningen (NL), founded following a recommendation of the International Soil Science Society (ISSS, now IUSS) and a resolution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). ISRIC’s mission is to serve the international community with information about the world’s soil resources to help addressing major global issues. ISRIC is the ICSU World Data Centre for Soils (WDC-Soils) since 1989. ISRIC is the abbreviation of the outdated name of the foundation, for “International Soil Reference and Information Centre”. (

J <<


K <<

  • Key species or key functional groups:  “Sets of species or functional groups that are responsible for essential ecosystem processes (Wall and Moore, 1999; Bloem et al., 2003; Swift et al., 2004). Key functional groups of soil biota and the ecosystem processes they influence include: i) microsymbionts (e.g. N-fixing organisms, mycorrhiza), ii) decomposers (e.g. cellulose and lignin degraders), iii) elemental transformers (e.g. nitrifiers, denitrifiers), iv) soil ecosystem engineers (e.g. earthworms, termites), v) soil-borne pest and diseases (e.g. white grubs, plant-parasitic nematodes, root-rots) and vi) microregulators (e.g. grazers, predators, parasites).” (Barrios 2007, “The loss of key species and trophic groups in soils may have far-reaching and unpredictable consequences for ecosystem functioning in some situations.” (Wall et al. 2010,

  • Keystone species: “A species which is critical for maintaining the structure and functioning of an ecosystem” (Jeffery et al. 2010,

  • KTBL (Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft): The KTBL is active between agricultural science, environment protection and practice and therefore establishes a technology transfer. It establishes and publishes planning data, evaluates new technologies, describes technological state of the art and defines good agricultural practice. Furthermore, it takes part in developing national and international guidelines. The KTBL also offers a platform for science, consultation, administration, industry and practices and initiates and accompanies research projects. (

L <<

  • Labelling (Product Labelling): “Attaching a notice to a product or container bearing information concerning its contents, proper use, manufacturer and any cautions or hazards of use.” (

  • Life cycle analysis: “Compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle” (DIN EN ISO 14040:2009)

  • Land management: “Concerns all operations, practices and treatments used to protect the land and enhance the goods and services provided by the ecosystem the land is part of.” (FAO,

  • Long-term field experiments (LTFE): Definition of LTFE within the BonaRes’ context: Minimum duration of about 20 years with a static design:

    LTFE data are used to…
    - answer current and future research questions
    - identify long term trends (balances in soils are reached within decades only)
    - model, calibrate, validate
    - demonstrate nutrition deficiency and surplus symptoms
    - research on climate impacts by providing long term time series

    Historically, subject to research is especially the influence of mineral fertilization vs. organic fertilization on soil fertility on different sites (as measured by Corg and long term productivity). In younger LTFE also the effects of crop rotation, tillage, irrigation, alternative fertilizers or new cropping systems like agroforestry are examined. Research parameters are beside main crop yield often soil biological, chemical and physical parameters like biodiversity, nutrition dynamics, accumulation of pollutants, water holding capacity, compaction etc. (Berti et al 2016,, Merbach, Deubel 2008,

M <<

  • Multi-criteria analysis: “Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) is a decision-making tool used in environmental systems analysis to evaluate a problem by giving an order of preference for multiple alternatives on the basis of several criteria that may have different units. The purpose of an MCA is to compare and rank alternative options and to evaluate their (environmental) consequences according to the criteria established. One of the greatest strengths is the possibility to use the criteria with their own dimensions. One of the greatest weaknesses of MCA is the subjectivity of the weighting step that is needed to value the different criteria. MCA differs from many other tools in including subjective elements and in resulting in a single number.” (Hermann et al. 2007,

N <<

O <<

  • OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium): International consortium, nonprofit, appr. 400 active members e. g. GIS providers (ESRI, Google, Oracle), service providers, data providers, universities, IT companies (Microsoft and IBM). Founded in 1994. Purpose: availability of spatial information on usage for as many users as possible.

    In OGC specifications, interfaces are defined to exchange and apply geodata via different networks and platforms (interface for exchange of information). The geodata interoperability plays a decisive role here. The OGD provides freely available and worldwide accepted standards which are important for the BonaRes Data Centre and which are mainly supported by the Centre. The most important standards are: WMS, WFS and CSW. (

  • Opportunity costs: "The evaluation placed on the most highly valued of the rejected alternatives or opportunities when a choice is made; the value that is given up in order to secure the higher value that selection of the chosen object embodies.” (Buchanan 1987, after

  • Organization: “A group of individuals bound by some common purpose to achieve objectives, including political, economic, social, and educational entities.” (North1990, after

P <<

  • Particulate Organic Matter (POM) is part of the labile (easily decomposable) pool of soil organic matter. Particulate organic matter can be further separated into free and aggregate-occluded POM. (Elliot 1992, von Lützow et al. 2007, 2008)
  • Path dependency: “A condition that exists when the outcome of a sequence of economic changes can be significantly influenced by temporally remote events, including happenings dominated by chance elements rather than systematic forces.” (David 1985, after
  • Precision farming: “Precision agriculture (PA) or satellite farming or site specific crop management (SSCM) is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.” (

  • Priority Initiative Digital Information“: Initiative of the alliance of science organizations.
    - improvement of information supply in research and teaching
    - provision and warranty of a free and comprehensive usability of digital publications, research data and source materials in different research contexts
    - perfect premises for international spread and recessions of publications and research data deriving from German science
    - ensuring long term availability of globally acquired digital media and contents as well as their integration into digital research surrounding
    - sustain IT-supported form of scientific work/operation by means of innovative information technology and digital methods 
    Will be continued after first phases (2008-2012) till 2017. (

  • Property rights: “(i) Economic property rights: an individual's ability, in expected terms, to consume a good or the services of an asset directly or to consume it indirectly through exchange, including (1) the right to use an asset, (2) the right to earn income from an asset and contract over the terms with other individuals, and (3) the right to transfer ownership rights permanently to another party. (ii) Legal property rights: the property rights that are recognized and enforced by the government.” (Eggertsson 1990, after

  • Projection: “Projections indicate what future values for the population [sample] would be if the assumed patterns of change were to occur. They are not a prediction that the population will change in this manner.” (

  • Proximal sensing: Measurement of attributes of the soil or plants using sensors mounted on vehicles close to the target of interest (cf. remote sensing). (Robinson, Harding, 2015. The Oxford Companion to Wine, Oxford University Press)

Q <<


R <<

  • RADAR - Research Data Repository: This interdisciplinary research data repository contains data from the “Long Tail of Science” storage and publication service. The purpose: developing a generic research data infrastructure, support of data management, provision and sustainable preservation of (autonomous) research data, improvement of data publication and development & establishment of interdisciplinary research data repository. It enables also archiving and data publication (e.g. DOI) of research data. The RADAR project has been funded by DFG since 2013 and will change over to its operational service in 2017. (
  • Remote sensing: Technology and scientific discipline by which characteristics of objects of interest can be identified without physical contact (in contrast to on-site observation or proximal sensing). (
  • Replant disease (of fruit trees): “The poor growth of fruit trees that occurs after replanting on a site that previously supported the same or closely related species has been termed ‘replant disease’ or ‘replant disorder.’” (Mazzola 1998,
  • Research data life cycle (Data life stages): Describes the entire life circle of research data: starting from its acquisition, description, management, archiving, provision, publication, and through to re-use usage. Within the BonaRes Centre (“Overview of relevant standards for the BonaRes –Program“ and „Recommendations for the applications of standards“), the term “Data life stages” is preferred. It describes the 3 main life stages of research data (research data acquisition, information technology of data management and digital data provision).

  • Resilience:  “Resilience is the capacity of a social-ecological system to absorb or withstand perturbations and other stressors such that the system remains within the same regime, essentially maintaining its structure and functions. It describes the degree to which the system is capable of self-organization, learning and adaptation." (Holling 1973, Gunderson, Holling 2002, Walker et al. 2004,

  • Resource efficiency: “Ratio of a certain benefit or result to the necessary input of resources, i.e. natural resources. The increase of resource efficiency is next to sufficiency and consistency one strategy for relative or absolute decreasing input of resources.” (

S <<

  • Scenario: “A scenario is a coherent, internally consistent and plausible description of a possible future state of the world. It is not a forecast; rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future can unfold. A projection may serve as the raw material for a scenario, but scenarios often require additional information (e.g., about baseline conditions). A set of scenarios is often adopted to reflect, as well as possible, the range of uncertainty in projections. Other terms that have been used as synonyms for scenario are "characterisation", "storyline" and "construction.” (

  • SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure): The SDI is a network with the purpose of making geodata of different origins interoperable available. It consists of data with spatial information, metadata, geodata services, web services and agreements on the usage and access. With the INSPIRE guideline the framework for the implementation of a European geodata infrastructure was built. The implementation on national level is carried out by GDI-DE.

    For BonaRes it is an important data source and part of the networking data infrastructure.

  • Socio-economic analysis: A bridging approach that examines human activities from both economic and social science perspectives, the latter includes a whole complex of disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, law, history or political science. This approach acknowledges that the economy is a sub-system of the social system and interdisciplinary research is required to understand relationships between society and the economy. (Etzioni 2003,

  • Soil compaction: “Changing the nature of the soil such that there is a decrease in the volume of voids between soil particles or aggregates; it is manifest as an increase in bulk density and a severely compacted soil can become effectively impermeable. Some soils are naturally compacted, e.g. very heavy textured soils (fine textured). Man-made compaction is caused by the passage of heavy machinery and very intensive soil exploitation. (

  • Soil functions are general capabilities of soils that are important for various agricultural, environmental, nature protection, landscape architecture and urban applications (FAO, ISRIC). Within BonaRes, we focus on the soil functions
    - biomass production
    - water filtration and storage
    - nutrient storage and recycling
    - habitat for organisms
    - carbon storage

  • Soil management: “Soil management concerns all operations, practices, and treatments used to protect soil and enhance its performance.” (

  • Soil organic matter: Total of all biologically derived organic matter residing within the soil matrix and directly on the soil surface including thermally altered materials. Nonliving component of organic matter in soil, which can be determined by the analysis of soil organic carbon according to VDLUFA. (Baldock and Skjemstad 2000, Kögel-Knabner et al. 2008, VDLUFA)

  • Soil monitoring sites: Monitoring network of different sites to capture spatial and temporal changes of soils. The concept is based on guidelines of the special working group "Informationsgrundlagen Bodenschutz der Umweltministerkonferenz, Unterarbeitsgruppe Boden-Dauerbeobachtungsflächen" (1991) and is enshrined into the German national soil protection law.

    - initial recording of soil state by determining the current characteristics and features of soils as well as their pollution at representative sites
    - determination of long term and short term changes of soil functions due to site specific, load specific and user specific influences by periodical examinations (standardized) of soil state or by balancing of resources
    - creation of a foundation to establish experimental sites for developing analysis models and derivation of soil standard values
    - implementation of reference sites for regional load and calibration sites
    (Schröder 2000. Innovative Ansätze zum Schutz der Natur: Visionen für die Zukunft. In: Erdmann, Mager. Bonn, Springer Verlag) (

  • Soil productivity is the capacity of a soil to produce a certain yield of crops or other plants with a specified system of management.” (

  • Soil structure: The three-dimensional arrangement of individual mineral grains and organic constituents present in soil. The individual grains or organic matters may remain as discrete structural units or be held together by various aggregating agents in aggregates (secondary organo-mineral complexes) (Golchin et al. 1994, Kögel-Knabner et al. 2008)

  • Soil quality “is an account of the soil's ability to provide ecosystem and social services through its capacities to perform its functions under changing conditions.” (Tóth et al. 2007,

  • SoTerML (Soil and terrain data exchange format): SoTerML is an XML-based exchange format for soil and terrain data that has been defined within the framework of the EU-funded ‘e-SOTER’ project. It encompasses the SOTER database structure as well as WRB and FAO soil data structures and classification systems. (
    (Pourabdollah et al. 2012,

  • State Geological Surveys (SGD, Germany): SGD of the German federal states collect and acquire specialized information on the composition and setting of the subsurface. Major tasks of the SGD are the geoscientific mapping/survey, state related geoscientific research und analyses, publication of geoscientific maps, data, reports and essays, implementation and maintenance of geo information systems as well as geoscientific consultation, e.g. as institution of public interest. (

  • Subsoil: “Subsoil is the layer of soil under the topsoil on the surface of the ground. Like topsoil it is composed of a variable mixture of small particles such as sand, silt and/or clay, but it lacks the organic matter and humus content of topsoil. Below the subsoil is the substratum, which can be residual bedrock, sediments, or aeolian deposits.” (

  • Sustainability assessment: “Sustainability assessment should assess whether or not an initiative is sustainable, and not simply assess ‘direction to target’. Assessment for sustainability requires a clear concept of sustainability as a societal goal, defined by criteria against which the assessment is conducted and which effectively separate sustainable outcomes from unsustainable ones.” (Pope et al. 2004,

  • Sustainable development: “Development which allows present needs to be satisfied without compromising the capacity of future generations to satisfy their needs too.” (

  • Sustainable Intensification: “To increase food production from existing farmland in ways that place far less pressure on the environment and that do not undermine our capacity to continue producing food in the future” (Garnett et al. 2013,

  • Sustainable land management: “Sustainable land management (SLM) refers to practices and technologies that aim to integrate the management of land, water, biodiversity, and other environmental resources to meet human needs while ensuring the long-term sustainability of ecosystem services and livelihoods. The term sustainable land management is used, for example, in regional planning and soil or environmental protection, as well as in property and estate management.” (

T <<

  • Transaction costs: “The costs of resources utilized for the creation, maintenance, use, and change of institutions and organizations, including the costs of defining and measuring resources or claims, the costs of utilizing and enforcing the rights specified, and the costs of information, negotiation, and enforcement.” (Furubotn, Richter 1997, after

  • Transdisciplinary research: “Integration of real-world knowledge via engaging non-scientific actors in specific scientific discourses and research questions, inclusion of participatory methods, and dissemination of scientific insights into societal discussions” (Daedlow et al. 2016,

U <<

  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: “On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.” (

V <<

  • Value system: “The accepted mode of conduct and the set of norms, goals, and values binding any social group that serves as a frame of reference for the individual in reaching decisions and achieving a meaningful life.” (

  • VDLUFA: Association of German Agricultural Analytic and Research Institutes.

    VDLUFA concepts position papers, develops and examines standardized methods & circular experiments, and valuates research results. Information platform for members. VDLUFA publishes methods books for soils, fertilizers and animal feed. In Germany VDLUFA standards are widely used in soil and agricultural science. (

W <<

  • WISE (World Inventory of Soil Emission Potential): The WISE data base which was built by ISRIC (current version 3.1 “WISE3”) contains more than 10.000 soil profile data from almost 150 countries and with a total of some 50.000 horizon data. Besides the profile description, the data base contains analysis data from selected profiles which had been acquired by country specific methods and standards. Data of the WISE database are freely available for scientific users within a context of agricultural and environmental usage on a global and continental scale. (

  • WMS (Web Map Service): This OGC standard defines a web service for the vitalization of geo data in a browser application. With an HTTP interface data from a geo database will be shown as geo referenced map pictures. (

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