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Soil & Biodiversity

Habitat for Biological Diversity

Most of the biodiversity of agricultural systems resides in soil. The interactions among soil organisms have large effects on the quality of crops, the incidence of soil-borne plant and animal pests and diseases. Beneficial soil organisms have an essential role in agricultural productivity as they mediate nutrient cycling and soil organic matter dynamics, alter soil physicochemical properties and support plant growth. However, agricultural intensification is considered the main factor setting pressure on soil biodiversity. When confronted with future land use change, understanding the responses of soil biodiversity to different land use regimes is decisive for adequate land management. However, there is still an open question how consistently different soil organisms respond to land use intensification. Our research focuses on understanding and quantifying the functional role of soil fauna in agroecosystems as well as the effects of agricultural management on these organisms.