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Soil fauna and soil function in the fabric of the food web

Author: Brussaard, L.
Author: Pulleman, M.M.
Author: Ouedraogo, E.
Author: Mando, A.
Author: Six, J.
Year: 2007
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10883/1485
Abstract: Over the last four decades, spanning David Coleman’s career, and in no small measure thanks to him, soil ecologists have made tremendous progress in describing and understanding the overwhelming complexity of biological, biophysical and biochemical interactions in soil. These interactions shape the soil as a habitat for the soil food web and the vegetation and, thereby, regulate the two main life-supporting processes on Planet Earth: production and decomposition. Changes in decomposition and production processes are governed by (human-induced) changes in vegetation composition/cover, the amounts and quality of organic residues and (in)organic fertilizers entering the soil. Such modifications alter the physical environment and the soil biota. Hence, decomposition and production processes cannot be understood and/or manipulated without explicitly addressing the composition and activity of the soil food web. Using a conceptual model, we argue that quantitative understanding of biophysical interactions, in particular those between soil fauna and soil structure, are paramount to understanding biological and biochemical processes in soil and the availability of water and nutrients to plants. The need to increase the efficiency of crop production worldwide, to reverse soil degradation and to increase soil resilience will set the agenda for soil ecologists in the near future.
Language: English
Copyright: CIMMYT manages Intellectual Assets as International Public Goods. The user is free to download, print, store and share this work. In case you want to translate or create any other derivative work and share or distribute such translation/derivative work, please contact CIMMYT-Knowledge-Center@cgiar.org indicating the work you want to use and the kind of use you intend; CIMMYT will contact you with the suitable license for that purpose.
Type: Article
Region: Global
Pages: 447-462
Journal issue: 6
Journal: Pedobiologia
Journal volume: 50
Keywords: Soil structure
Keywords: Soil fauna
Keywords: Food web
Keywords: Carbon
Keywords: Water use efficiency
Keywords: Nutrient use efficiency


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  • Sustainable Intensification
    Sustainable intensification agriculture including topics on cropping systems, agronomy, soil, mechanization, precision agriculture, etc.

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