About this Research Topic
Soils deliver important ecosystem services (as defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) by playing a crucial role in the supply of provisioning, regulating, and cultural services to human populations. The ever-increasing pressure on land linked to the steadily growing world population means that human activities overwhelmingly influence soil until finally becoming threats to soils. Since soils evolve on decadal to century time scales as climate and human pressures do, it is urgent to take into account the annual, decadal and centennial evolution of soil, in order to ensure the long-term durability of all soil services, thereby introducing the concept of Soil Change beside and in connection with the well-known concepts of Climate Change and Land Use Change. Soil evolution is understood as both the evolution of all soil mineral and organic constituents, and as the evolution of their arrangement from local to global scale. Indeed, all soil characteristics (including mineral and organic constituents, physicochemical parameters but also soil horizon sequence and soil structure, i.e., the macroscopic organization of solid grains and pores) are impacted by land use and management, climate change, or both in either a synergic or an antagonistic way on time scales as short as a few tens of years.
This evolution has evident consequences in terms of soil sustainability. Linking soil processes with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been already identified as a key prerequisite for actually successfully reaching many of the soil-connected SDGs by 2030. Especially SDG 2 related to fighting hunger and achieving food security as well as SDG 15 on protecting the terrestrial environment for future generations need sustainable soil management to be consistently applied at a global scale. How to achieve food security and the elimination of hunger while at the same time protecting our terrestrial environment is a great challenge that requires extensive, multidisciplinary research.
In this special issue we propose to link these two topics by gathering articles that deal with either soil evolution on a 10 to 100 year scale, soil sustainability, or a combination of both topics. We encourage articles addressing soil sustainability in an innovative and interdisciplinary manner. We welcome review articles, research papers, as well as essays discussing recent research trends.
Keywords: sustainable development, Soil processes, soil services, modelling
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.