Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2015-88
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2015-88
 
18 Jan 2016
18 Jan 2016

FORUM paper: The significance of soils and soil science towards realization of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)

S. D. Keesstra1, J. Bouma2, J. Wallinga3, P. Tittonell4, P. Smith5, A. Cerdà6, L. Montanarella7, J. Quinton8, Y. Pachepsky9, W. H. van der Putten10,11, R. D. Bardgett12, S. Moolenaar13, G. Mol14, and L. O Fresco15 S. D. Keesstra et al.
  • 1Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, saskia.keesstra@wur.nl
  • 2Formerly Soils Department, Wageningen University. Johan.bouma@planet.nl
  • 3Soil Geography and Landscape Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • 4Natural Resources and Environment Program, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Argentina
  • 5University of Aberdeen, Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • 6Departament de Geografia. Universitat de València. Blasco Ibàñez, 28, 46010-Valencia. Spain
  • 7European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Italy
  • 8Lancaster University, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster, United Kingdom, j.quinton@lancaster.ac.uk
  • 9USDA-ARS, Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD, United States
  • 10Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology NIOO-KNAW, Droevendaalsesteeg 10, Wageningen, NL- 6708, The Netherlands
  • 11Department of Nematology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB, Wageningen, NL- 6708, 21 The Netherlands
  • 12University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 13Commonland, Department of Science & Education, www.commonland.com, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 14Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 15Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Abstract. In this FORUM paper we discuss how soil scientists can help to reach the recently adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals in the most effective manner. Soil science, as a land-related discipline has important links to several of the SDGs which are demonstrated through the functions of soils and the ecosystem services that are linked to those functions. We explore and discuss how soil scientists can rise to the challenge both internally, in terms of our procedures and practices, and externally in terms of our relations with colleague scientists in other disciplines, diverse groups of stakeholders and the policy arena. To meet these goals we recommend the following steps to be taken by the soil science community as a whole: (i) Embrace the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as they provide a platform that allows soil science to demonstrate its relevance for realizing a sustainable society by 2030. (ii) Show the specific value of soil science: Research should explicitly show how using modern soil information can improve the results of inter- and trans-disciplinary studies on SDGs related to food security, water scarcity, climate change, biodiversity loss and health threats. (iii) Given the integrative nature of soils, soil scientists are in a unique position to take leadership in overarching systems-analyses of ecosystems; (iii) Raise awareness of soil organic matter as a key attribute of soils to illustrate its importance for soil functions and ecosystem services; (iv) Improve the transfer of knowledge through knowledge brokers with a soil background; (v) Start at the basis: educational programs are needed at all levels, starting in primary schools, and emphasizing practical, down-to-earth examples; (vi) Facilitate communication with the policy arena by framing research in terms that resonate with politicians in terms of the policy cycle or by considering drivers, pressures and responses affecting impacts of land use change; and finally (vii) all this is only possible if researchers, with soil scientists in the frontlines, look over the hedge towards other disciplines, to the world-at-large and to the policy arena, reaching over to listen first, as a basis for genuine collaboration.

Journal article(s) based on this preprint

S. D. Keesstra et al.

Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Peer-review completion

AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision
ED: Publish as is (22 Mar 2016) by Peter Finke
ED: Publish as is (27 Mar 2016) by Kristof Van Oost(Executive Editor)
AR by Saskia Keesstra on behalf of the Authors (28 Mar 2016)  Author's response    Manuscript

Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Peer-review completion

AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision
ED: Publish as is (22 Mar 2016) by Peter Finke
ED: Publish as is (27 Mar 2016) by Kristof Van Oost(Executive Editor)
AR by Saskia Keesstra on behalf of the Authors (28 Mar 2016)  Author's response    Manuscript

Journal article(s) based on this preprint

S. D. Keesstra et al.

S. D. Keesstra et al.

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Short summary
Soil science, as a land-related discipline has links to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which are demonstrated through the functions of soils and related ecosystem services. We discuss how soil scientists can rise to the challenge both internally and externally in terms of our relations with colleagues in other disciplines, diverse groups of stakeholders and the policy arena. To meet these goals we recommend the set of steps to be taken by the soil science community as a whole.