Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Impact Of Covid19 on Farming Systems in Europe Through The Lens of Resilience Thinking
    Meuwissen, M.P.M. ; Feindt, P.H. ; Spiegel, A. ; Mey, Y. de; Paas, W.H. ; Termeer, K. ; Poortvliet, M. ; Peneva, M. ; Urquhart, J. ; Vigani, M. ; Black, J. ; Nicholas-Davies, P. ; Maye, D. ; Appel, A. ; Pitson, C. ; Balmann, A. ; Bijtebier, J.O. ; Coopmans, I. ; Wauters, E. ; Mathijs, E. ; Finger, R. ; Hansson, H. ; Lagerkvist, C.J. ; Rommel, J. ; Tasevska, G. ; Accatino, F. ; Soriano, B. ; Bardaji, I. ; Severini, S. ; Senni, S. ; Zinnanti, C. ; Gavrilescu, C. ; Ciechomska, A. ; Zawalińska, K. ; Krupin, V. ; Gradziuk, P. ; Herrera, H. ; Reidsma, P. - \ 2020
    European survey shows poor association between soil organic matter and crop yields
    Vonk, Wytse J. ; Ittersum, Martin K. van; Reidsma, Pytrik ; Zavattaro, Laura ; Bechini, Luca ; Guzmán, Gema ; Pronk, Annette ; Spiegel, Heide ; Steinmann, Horst H. ; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Hijbeek, Renske - \ 2020
    Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems (2020). - ISSN 1385-1314
    Arable farming - Crop yield - Europe - Soil organic matter - Survey

    A number of policies proposed to increase soil organic matter (SOM) content in agricultural land as a carbon sink and to enhance soil fertility. Relations between SOM content and crop yields however remain uncertain. In a recent farm survey across six European countries, farmers reported both their crop yields and their SOM content. For four widely grown crops (wheat, grain maize, sugar beet and potato), correlations were explored between reported crop yields and SOM content (N = 1264). To explain observed variability, climate, soil texture, slope, tillage intensity, fertilisation and irrigation were added as co-variables in a linear regression model. No consistent correlations were observed for any of the crop types. For wheat, a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) was observed between SOM and crop yields in the Continental climate, with yields being on average 263 ± 4 (95% CI) kg ha−1 higher on soils with one percentage point more SOM. In the Atlantic climate, a significant negative correlation was observed for wheat, with yields being on average 75 ± 2 (95%CI) kg ha−1 lower on soils with one percentage point more SOM (p < 0.05). For sugar beet, a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) between SOM and crop yields was suggested for all climate zones, but this depended on a number of relatively low yield observations. For potatoes and maize, no significant correlations were observed between SOM content and crop yields. These findings indicate the need for a diversified strategy across soil types, crops and climates when seeking farmers’ support to increase SOM.

    Multi-Functional Land Use Is Not Self-Evident for European Farmers: A Critical Review
    Schröder, Jaap J. ; Berge, Hein F.M. Ten; Bampa, Francesca ; Creamer, Rachel E. ; Giraldez-Cervera, Juan V. ; Henriksen, Christian B. ; Olesen, Jørgen E. ; Rutgers, Michiel ; Sandén, Taru ; Spiegel, Heide - \ 2020
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 8 (2020). - ISSN 2296-665X
    ecosystem services - land management - primary productivity - soil degradation - soil function - soil health - soil quality

    Soils perform more functions than primary productivity. Examples of these functions are the recycling of nutrients, the regulation and purification of water, the regulation of the climate, and supporting biodiversity. These abilities are generally referred to as the soil quality. Soil management that favors primary productivity may have positive and negative impacts on the other functions, and vice versa, depending on soil and climatic conditions. All these functions are under pressure, particularly in intensive agriculture. In the absence of mandatory regulations, most European farmers give limited attention to other functions than primary productivity in spite of recommendations by scientists, society and policy makers to acknowledge the ecosystem services provided by soils. The present paper analyses the underlying causes of this limited attention for the multi-functionality of soils by farmers. It is concluded that their focus on primary productivity may stem from (1) insufficient visible proof for soil degradation and benefits of preventive measures over curative measures, (2) limited awareness or conviction of long-term synergies, (3) insufficient remuneration of ecosystem services by society or compensation of yield penalties in favor of these services, (4) lacking trustworthy knowledge about and support for multi-functional soil management, and (5) absence of incentives and regulations on soil management and their enforcement. All these shortcomings need to be addressed by advisors, scientists, and policy makers, whilst acknowledging the need for underpinning and differentiation of incentives and regulations.

    Stochastic-dynamic modelling of farm-level investments under uncertainty
    Spiegel, Alisa ; Britz, Wolfgang ; Djanibekov, Utkur ; Finger, Robert - \ 2020
    Environmental Modelling & Software 127 (2020). - ISSN 1364-8152
    Investment decision - Monte Carlo simulation - Perennial crop - Real options - Stochastic programming

    In the light of uncertainties, high initial costs, and temporal managerial flexibility, the real options approach has gained interest as a valuation tool for different types of natural resources management problems. Yet, neither real options valuation method excels under consideration of variability of resource endowments, returns-to-scale and predefined sizes of options. We fill the methodological gap by developing a method based on Monte Carlo simulation, scenario tree reduction, and stochastic programming that is advantageous for valuing real options where timing, scale and interactions among constraints and alternatives matter. The method advances in straightforward conversion of deterministic programming applications based on the classical net present value approach into a real options framework, and in introducing complexity into existing real options models. We illustrate the method with a case study featuring investment options regarding the adoption, coppicing, and conversion of perennial biomass energy production systems.

    Resilience assessment of current farming systems across the European Union
    Reidsma, P. ; Spiegel, Alisa ; Paas, W.H. ; Accatino, Francesco ; Antonioli, F. ; Appel, Franziska ; Bardají, Isabel ; Berry, Robert ; Bertolozzi, Daniele ; Bijttebier, J. ; Black, Jasmine ; Buitenhuis, Yannick ; Coopmans, Isabeau ; Courtney, Paul ; Feindt, P.H. ; Gavrilescu, Camelia ; Hansson, Helena ; Jendrzejewski, Błażej ; Khafagy, Amr ; Krupin, Vitaliy ; Lagerkvist, Carl-Johan ; Larson, Sara ; Lievens, Eewoud ; Mathijs, Erik ; Manevska-Tasevska, Gordana ; Maye, Damian ; Ollendorf, Franziska ; Peneva, Mariya ; Pettit, Andrea ; Pinsard, Corentin ; Rommel, Jens ; Senni, Saverio ; Severini, Simone ; Slijper, H.T. ; Soriano, Bárbara ; Urquhart, Julie ; Valchovska, S. ; Vigani, M. ; Wauters, Erwin ; Zawalińska, Katarzyna ; Meuwissen, M.P.M. - \ 2019
    SURE Farm - 387 p.
    Assessing the climate regulation potential of Agricultural soils using a decision support tool adapted to stakeholders' needs and possibilities
    Broek, Marijn Van de; Henriksen, Christian Bugge ; Ghaley, Bhim Bahadur ; Lugato, Emanuele ; Kuzmanovski, Vladimir ; Trajanov, Aneta ; Debeljak, Marko ; Sandén, Taru ; Spiegel, Heide ; Decock, Charlotte ; Creamer, Rachel ; Six, Johan - \ 2019
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 7 (2019). - ISSN 2296-665X
    Soils perform many functions that are vital to societies, among which their capability to regulate global climate has received much attention over the past decades. An assessment of the extent to which soils perform a specific function is not only important to appropriately value their current capacity, but also to make well-informed decisions about how and where to change soil management to align the delivered soil functions with societal demands. To obtain an overview of the capacity of soils to perform different functions, accurate and easy-to-use models are necessary. A problem with most currently-available models is that data requirements often exceed data availability, while generally a high level of expert knowledge is necessary to apply these models. Therefore, we developed a qualitative model to assess how agricultural soils function with respect to climate regulation. The model is driven by inputs about agricultural management practices, soil properties and environmental conditions. To reduce data requirements on stakeholders, the 17 input variables are classified into either (1) three classes: low, medium and high or (2) the presence or absence of a management practice. These inputs are combined using a decision tree with internal integration rules to obtain an estimate of the magnitude of N2O emissions and carbon sequestration. These two variables are subsequently combined into an estimate of the capacity of a soil to perform the climate regulation function. The model was tested using data from long-term field experiments across Europe. This showed that the model is generally able to adequately assess this soil function across a range of environments under different management practices. In a next step, this model will be combined with models to assess other soil functions (soil biodiversity, primary productivity, nutrient cycling and water regulation and purification). This will allow the assessment of trade-offs between these soil functions for agricultural land across Europe.
    A Field-Scale Decision Support System for Assessment and Management of Soil Functions
    Debeljak, Marko ; Trajanov, Aneta ; Kuzmanovski, Vladimir ; Schroder, J.J. ; Sandén, Taru ; Spiegel, Heide ; Wall, David ; Broek, Marijn van de; Rutgers, Michiel ; Bampa, Francesca ; Creamer, Rachel ; Henriksen, Christian Bugge - \ 2019
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 7 (2019). - ISSN 2296-665X
    Agricultural decision support systems (DSS) are mostly focused on increasing the supply of individual soil functions such as e.g. primary productivity or nutrient cycling, while neglecting other important soil functions, such as e.g. water purification and regulation, climate regulation and carbon sequestration, soil biodiversity and habitat provision. Making right management decisions for long-term sustainability is therefore challenging, and farmers and farm advisors would greatly benefit from an evidence-based DSS targeted for assessing and improving the supply of several soil functions simultaneously. To address this, need we designed the Soil Navigator DSS by applying a qualitative approach to multi criteria decision modelling using Decision Expert (DEX) integrative methodology. Multi-criteria decision models for the five main soil functions were developed, calibrated and validated using knowledge of involved domain experts and knowledge extracted from existing datasets by data mining. Subsequently, the five DEX models were integrated into a DSS to assess the soil functions simultaneously, and to provide management advises for improving the performance of prioritized soil functions. To enable communication between the users and the DSS, we developed a user-friendly computer-based graphical user interface, which enables users to provide the required data regarding their field to the DSS and to get textual and graphical results about the performance of each of the five soil functions in a qualitative way. The final output from the DSS is a list of soil mitigation measures that the end-users could easily apply in the field in order to achieve the desired soil function performance. The Soil Navigator DSS has a great potential to complement the Farm Sustainability Tools for Nutrients included in the Common Agricultural Policy 2021-2027 proposal adopted by the European Commission. The Soil Navigator has also a potential to be spatially upgraded to assist decisions on which soil functions to prioritize in a specific region or member state. Furthermore, the Soil Navigator DSS could be used as an educational tool for farmers, farm advisors and students, and its potential should be further exploited for the benefit of farmers and the society as a whole.
    A framework to assess the resilience of farming systems
    Meuwissen, Miranda P.M. ; Feindt, Peter H. ; Spiegel, A. ; Termeer, Catrien J.A.M. ; Mathijs, Erik ; Mey, Yann de; Finger, Robert ; Balmann, Alfons ; Wauters, E. ; Urquhart, J. ; Vigani, M. ; Zawalińska, Katarzyna ; Herrera, Hugo ; Nicholas-Davies, Phillipa ; Hansson, Helena ; Paas, Wim ; Slijper, Thomas ; Coopmans, Isabeau ; Vroege, Willemijn ; Ciechomska, Anna ; Accatino, Francesco ; Kopainsky, Birgit ; Poortvliet, Marijn P. ; Candel, Jeroen J.L. ; Maye, Damian ; Severini, Simone ; Senni, Saverio ; Soriano, Bárbara ; Lagerkvist, Carl Johan ; Peneva, Mariya ; Gavrilescu, Camelia ; Reidsma, Pytrik - \ 2019
    Agricultural Systems 176 (2019). - ISSN 0308-521X
    Enabling environment - Farming systems - Long-term stresses - Private and public goods - Resilience capacities - Shocks

    Agricultural systems in Europe face accumulating economic, ecological and societal challenges, raising concerns about their resilience to shocks and stresses. These resilience issues need to be addressed with a focus on the regional context in which farming systems operate because farms, farmers' organizations, service suppliers and supply chain actors are embedded in local environments and functions of agriculture. We define resilience of a farming system as its ability to ensure the provision of the system functions in the face of increasingly complex and accumulating economic, social, environmental and institutional shocks and stresses, through capacities of robustness, adaptability and transformability. We (i) develop a framework to assess the resilience of farming systems, and (ii) present a methodology to operationalize the framework with a view to Europe's diverse farming systems. The framework is designed to assess resilience to specific challenges (specified resilience) as well as a farming system's capacity to deal with the unknown, uncertainty and surprise (general resilience). The framework provides a heuristic to analyze system properties, challenges (shocks, long-term stresses), indicators to measure the performance of system functions, resilience capacities and resilience-enhancing attributes. Capacities and attributes refer to adaptive cycle processes of agricultural practices, farm demographics, governance and risk management. The novelty of the framework pertains to the focal scale of analysis, i.e. the farming system level, the consideration of accumulating challenges and various agricultural processes, and the consideration that farming systems provide multiple functions that can change over time. Furthermore, the distinction between three resilience capacities (robustness, adaptability, transformability) ensures that the framework goes beyond narrow definitions that limit resilience to robustness. The methodology deploys a mixed-methods approach: quantitative methods, such as statistics, econometrics and modelling, are used to identify underlying patterns, causal explanations and likely contributing factors; while qualitative methods, such as interviews, participatory approaches and stakeholder workshops, access experiential and contextual knowledge and provide more nuanced insights. More specifically, analysis along the framework explores multiple nested levels of farming systems (e.g. farm, farm household, supply chain, farming system) over a time horizon of 1–2 generations, thereby enabling reflection on potential temporal and scalar trade-offs across resilience attributes. The richness of the framework is illustrated for the arable farming system in Veenkoloniën, the Netherlands. The analysis reveals a relatively low capacity of this farming system to transform and farmers feeling distressed about transformation, while other members of their households have experienced many examples of transformation.

    Harvesting European knowledge on soil functions and land management using multi-criteria decision analysis
    Bampa, Francesca ; O'Sullivan, Lilian ; Madena, Kirsten ; Sandén, Taru ; Spiegel, Heide ; Henriksen, Christian Bugge ; Ghaley, Bhim Bahadur ; Jones, Arwyn ; Staes, Jan ; Sturel, Sylvain ; Trajanov, Aneta ; Creamer, Rachel E. ; Debeljak, Marko - \ 2019
    Soil Use and Management 35 (2019)1. - ISSN 0266-0032 - p. 6 - 20.
    DEX model - farmers and multi-stakeholders - locally relevant advice - participatory research - soil quality

    Soil and its ecosystem functions play a societal role in securing sustainable food production while safeguarding natural resources. A functional land management framework has been proposed to optimize the agro-environmental outputs from the land and specifically the supply and demand of soil functions such as (a) primary productivity, (b) carbon sequestration, (c) water purification and regulation, (d) biodiversity and (e) nutrient cycling, for which soil knowledge is essential. From the outset, the LANDMARK multi-actor research project integrates harvested knowledge from local, national and European stakeholders to develop such guidelines, creating a sense of ownership, trust and reciprocity of the outcomes. About 470 stakeholders from five European countries participated in 32 structured workshops covering multiple land uses in six climatic zones. The harmonized results include stakeholders’ priorities and concerns, perceptions on soil quality and functions, implementation of tools, management techniques, indicators and monitoring, activities and policies, knowledge gaps and ideas. Multi-criteria decision analysis was used for data analysis. Two qualitative models were developed using Decision EXpert methodology to evaluate “knowledge” and “needs”. Soil quality perceptions differed across workshops, depending on the stakeholder level and regionally established terminologies. Stakeholders had good inherent knowledge about soil functioning, but several gaps were identified. In terms of critical requirements, stakeholders defined high technical, activity and policy needs in (a) financial incentives, (b) credible information on improving more sustainable management practices, (c) locally relevant advice, (d) farmers’ discussion groups, (e) training programmes, (f) funding for applied research and monitoring, and (g) strengthening soil science in education.

    European long-term field experiments : knowledge gained about alternative management practices
    Sandén, T. ; Spiegel, H. ; Stüger, H.P. ; Schlatter, N. ; Haslmayr, H.P. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Grignani, C. ; Bechini, L. ; D′Hose, T. ; Molendijk, L. ; Pecio, A. ; Jarosz, Z. ; Guzmán, G. ; Vanderlinden, K. ; Giráldez, J.V. ; Mallast, J. ; Berge, H. ten - \ 2018
    Soil Use and Management 34 (2018)2. - ISSN 0266-0032 - p. 167 - 176.
    alternative management practices - Europe - Long-term experiment - productivity - soil quality

    Alternative management practices such as no-tillage compared to conventional tillage are expected to recover or increase soil quality and productivity, even though all of these aspects are rarely studied together. Long-term field experiments (LTEs) enable analysis of alternative management practices over time. This study investigated a total of 251 European LTEs in which alternative management practices such as crop rotation, catch crops, cover crops/green manure, no-tillage, non-inversion tillage and organic fertilization were applied. Response ratios of indicators for soil quality, climate change and productivity between alternative and reference management practices were derived from a total of 260 publications. Both positive and negative effects of alternative management practices on the different indicators were shown and, as expected, no alternative management practice could comply with all objectives simultaneously. Productivity was hampered by non-inversion tillage, FYM amendments and incorporation of crop residues. SOC contents were increased significantly following organic fertilizers and non-inversion tillage. GHG emissions were increased by slurry application and incorporation of crop residues. Our study showed that alternative management practices beneficial to one group of indicators (e.g. organic fertilizers for biological soil quality indicators) are not necessarily beneficial to other indicators (e.g. increase of crop yields). We conclude that LTEs are valuable for finding ways forward in protecting European soils as well as finding evidence-based alternative management practices for the future; however, experiments should focus more on biological soil quality indicators as well as GHG emissions to enable better evaluation of trade-offs and mutual benefits of management practices.

    Guidelines for the Framework of Participatory Impact Assessment of SUstainable and REsilient EU FARMing systems (FOPIA-SureFarm) : D5.2.1
    Reidsma, P. ; Paas, W.H. ; Spiegel, Alisa ; Meuwissen, M.P.M. - \ 2018
    EU - 68 p.
    Soil protists: A fertile frontier in soil biology research
    Geisen, Stefan ; Mitchell, Edward A.D. ; Adl, Sina ; Bonkowski, Michael ; Dunthorn, Micah ; Ekelund, Flemming ; Fernández, Leonardo D. ; Jousset, Alexandre ; Krashevska, Valentyna ; Singer, David ; Spiegel, Frederick W. ; Walochnik, Julia ; Lara, Enrique - \ 2018
    FEMS Microbiology Reviews 42 (2018)3. - ISSN 0168-6445 - p. 293 - 323.
    Biogeography - Functional diversity - Plant performance - Soil food web - Soil microbiome - Taxonomic diversity

    Protists include all eukaryotes except plants, fungi and animals. They are an essential, yet often forgotten, component of the soil microbiome. Method developments have now furthered our understanding of the real taxonomic and functional diversity of soil protists. They occupy key roles in microbial foodwebs as consumers of bacteria, fungi and other small eukaryotes. As parasites of plants, animals and even of larger protists, they regulate populations and shape communities. Pathogenic forms play a major role in public health issues as human parasites, or act as agricultural pests. Predatory soil protists release nutrients enhancing plant growth. Soil protists are of key importance for our understanding of eukaryotic evolution and microbial biogeography. Soil protists are also useful in applied research as bioindicators of soil quality, as models in ecotoxicology and as potential biofertilizers and biocontrol agents. In this review, we provide an overview of the enormous morphological, taxonomical and functional diversity of soil protists, and discuss current challenges and opportunities in soil protistology. Research in soil biology would clearly benefit from incorporating more protistology alongside the study of bacteria, fungi and animals.

    Responses of soil biota to non-inversion tillage and organic amendments : An analysis on European multiyear field experiments
    Hose, Tommy D'; Molendijk, Leendert ; Vooren, Laura Van; Berg, Wim van den; Hoek, Hans ; Runia, Willemien ; Evert, Frits van; Berge, Hein ten; Spiegel, Heide ; Sandèn, Taru ; Grignani, Carlo ; Ruysschaert, Greet - \ 2018
    Pedobiologia 66 (2018). - ISSN 0031-4056 - p. 18 - 28.
    Earthworms - Microbial biomass - Multiyear field experiments - Nematodes - Non-inversion tillage - Organic amendments
    Over the last two decades, there has been growing interest on the effects of agricultural practices on soil biology in Europe. As soil biota are known to fluctuate throughout the season and as agro-environmental conditions may influence the effect of agricultural practices on soil organisms, conclusions cannot be drawn from a single study. Therefore, integrating the results of many studies in order to identify general trends is required. The main objective of this study was to investigate how soil biota are affected by repeated applications of organic amendments (i.e. compost, farmyard manure and slurry) or reduced tillage (i.e. non-inversion tillage and no till) under European conditions, as measured in multiyear field experiments. Moreover, we investigated to what extent the effects on soil biota are controlled by soil texture, sampling depth, climate and duration of agricultural practice. Experimental data on earthworm and nematode abundance, microbial biomass carbon and bacterial and fungal communities from more than 60 European multiyear field experiments, comprising different climatic zones and soil texture classes, were extracted from literature. From our survey, we can conclude that adopting no tillage or non-inversion tillage practices and increasing organic matter inputs by organic fertilization were accompanied by larger earthworm numbers (an increase between 56 and 125% and between 63 and 151% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively) and biomass (an increase between 108 and 416% and between 66 and 196% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively), a higher microbial biomass carbon content (an increase between 10 and 30% and between 25 and 31% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively), a marked increase in bacterivorous nematodes (an increase between 19 and 282% for organic amendment) and bacterial phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFA; an increase between 31 and 38% for organic amendment). Results were rarely influenced by soil texture, climate and duration of practice.
    Adulteration and misbranding of fish products
    Spiegel, Marjolein Van Der; Roest, Joop Van Der - \ 2017
    In: Trends in Fish Processing Technologies CRC Press - ISBN 9781498729178 - p. 291 - 302.

    Fish are among the most internationally traded food commodities. However, due to the globalization of markets, illegal species substitution is becoming an important concern (Hellberg and Morrissey 2011, Martinsohn et al. 2011, Toldrá et al. 2013), which may have economical, health, and environmental consequences.

    An assessment of policies affecting Sustainable Soil Management in Europe and selected member states
    Turpin, Nadine ; Berge, Hein ten; Grignani, Carlo ; Guzmán, Gema ; Vanderlinden, Karl ; Steinmann, Horst-Henning ; Siebielec, Grzegorz ; Spiegel, Adelheid ; Perret, Eric ; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Laguna, Ana ; Giráldez, Juan Vicente ; Werner, Magdalena ; Raschke, Isabell ; Zavattaro, Laura ; Costamagna, Chiara ; Schlatter, Norman ; Berthold, Helen ; Sandén, Taru ; Baumgarten, Andreas - \ 2017
    Land Use Policy 66 (2017). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 241 - 249.
    This paper analyses soils-related policies in Europe and in selected member states and regions. Our approach breaks down policy packages at European, national and regional levels into strategic objectives, operational objectives, policy measures and expected impacts, and assesses the relationships between these elements and soil stakes. Four major policy packages, both at EU and national level (CAP-I, RDP, Environment, national initiatives) were analysed. A numerical scale was developed to quantify the level of “embeddedness” of soil stakes in these policy packages. We found that countries better embed soil stakes into their policies when they also put more efforts on environmental innovation. In turn, countries with a high embeddedness level, with high trust in European institutions and that make more efforts towards renewable energy, tend to propose a wider variety of management practices to farmers for dealing with soil stakes.
    Gap assessment in current soil monitoring networks across Europe for measuring soil functions
    Leeuwen, J.P. Van; Saby, N.P.A. ; Jones, A. ; Louwagie, G. ; Micheli, E. ; Rutgers, M. ; Schulte, R.P.O. ; Spiegel, H. ; Toth, G. ; Creamer, R.E. - \ 2017
    Environmental Research Letters 12 (2017)12. - ISSN 1748-9318
    Europe - soil attributes - soil functions - soil monitoring networks

    Soil is the most important natural resource for life on Earth after water. Given its fundamental role in sustaining the human population, both the availability and quality of soil must be managed sustainably and protected. To ensure sustainable management we need to understand the intrinsic functional capacity of different soils across Europe and how it changes over time. Soil monitoring is needed to support evidence-based policies to incentivise sustainable soil management. To this aim, we assessed which soil attributes can be used as potential indicators of five soil functions; (1) primary production, (2) water purification and regulation, (3) carbon sequestration and climate regulation, (4) soil biodiversity and habitat provisioning and (5) recycling of nutrients. We compared this list of attributes to existing national (regional) and EU-wide soil monitoring networks. The overall picture highlighted a clearly unbalanced dataset, in which predominantly chemical soil parameters were included, and soil biological and physical attributes were severely under represented. Methods applied across countries for indicators also varied. At a European scale, the LUCAS-soil survey was evaluated and again confirmed a lack of important soil biological parameters, such as C mineralisation rate, microbial biomass and earthworm community, and soil physical measures such as bulk density. In summary, no current national or European monitoring system exists which has the capacity to quantify the five soil functions and therefore evaluate multi-functional capacity of a soil and in many countries no data exists at all. This paper calls for the addition of soil biological and some physical parameters within the LUCAS-soil survey at European scale and for further development of national soil monitoring schemes.

    Agronomic effects of bovine manure : A review of long-term European field experiments
    Zavattaro, Laura ; Bechini, Luca ; Grignani, Carlo ; Evert, Frits K. van; Mallast, Janine ; Spiegel, Heide ; Sandén, Taru ; Pecio, Alicja ; Giráldez Cervera, Juan Vicente ; Guzmán, Gema ; Vanderlinden, Karl ; Hose, Tommy D'; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Berge, Hein F.M. ten - \ 2017
    European Journal of Agronomy 90 (2017). - ISSN 1161-0301 - p. 127 - 138.
    Efficiency - Farmyard manure - Nitrogen - Response ratio - Slurry - Soil organic carbon

    To evaluate the agronomic value of animal manure, we quantified the effects of pedo-climatic, crop and management factors on crop productivity, N use efficiency, and soil organic matter, described with simple indicators that compare manures with mineral fertilizers. We selected 80 European long-term field experiments that used bovine farmyard manure or bovine liquid slurry, alone (FYM and SLU) or combined with mineral fertilizers (FYMm and SLUm), and compared them to mineral fertilizer only reference treatments. We collected 5570 measurements from 107 papers. FYM produced slightly lower crop yields (−9.5%) when used alone and higher (+11.3%) yields when used in combination with N fertilizer (FYMm), compared to those obtained using mineral fertilizers only. Conditions promoting manure-N mineralization (lighter soil texture, warmer temperature, longer growing season, and shallower incorporation depth) significantly increased the effect of FYM/FYMm on crop yield and yield N. The production efficiency of FYM (yield:N applied ratio) was slightly lower than that of mineral fertilizers (-1.6%). The apparent N recoveries of FYM and FYMm were 59.3% and 78.7%, respectively, of mineral fertilizers. Manured soils had significantly higher C (+32.9% on average for FYM and FYMm) and N (+21.5%) concentrations. Compared to mineral fertilizers, yield was reduced by 9.1% with SLU, but not with SLUm. Influencing factors were similar to those of FYM/FYMm. Efficiency indicators indicated SLU (but not SLUm) was less effective than mineral fertilizers. Slurry significantly increased SOC (on average for SLU and SLUm by +17.4%) and soil N (+15.7%) concentrations. In conclusion, compared to mineral N fertilizers, bovine farmyard manure and slurry were slightly less effective on the crop, but determined marked increases to SOC and soil N, and thus, to long-term soil fertility maintenance.

    Soil protistology rebooted: 30 fundamental questions to start with
    Geisen, Stefan ; Mitchell, Edward A.D. ; Wilkinson, David M. ; Adl, Sina ; Bonkowski, Michael ; Brown, Matthew W. ; Fiore-Donno, Anna Maria ; Heger, Thierry J. ; Jassey, Vincent E.J. ; Krashevska, Valentyna ; Lahr, Daniel J.G. ; Marcisz, Katarzyna ; Mulot, Matthieu ; Payne, Richard ; Singer, David ; Anderson, O.R. ; Charman, Dan J. ; Ekelund, Flemming ; Griffiths, Bryan S. ; Rønn, Regin ; Smirnov, Alexey ; Bass, David ; Belbahri, Lassaâd ; Berney, Cédric ; Blandenier, Quentin ; Chatzinotas, Antonis ; Clarholm, Marianne ; Dunthorn, Micah ; Feest, Alan ; Fernández, Leonardo D. ; Foissner, Wilhelm ; Fournier, Bertrand ; Gentekaki, Eleni ; Hájek, Michal ; Helder, Hans ; Jousset, Alexandre ; Koller, Robert ; Kumar, Santosh ; Terza, Antonietta La; Lamentowicz, Mariusz ; Mazei, Yuri ; Santos, Susana S. ; Seppey, Christophe V.W. ; Spiegel, Frederick W. ; Walochnik, Julia ; Winding, Anne ; Lara, Enrique - \ 2017
    Soil Biology and Biochemistry 111 (2017). - ISSN 0038-0717 - p. 94 - 103.
    Protists are the most diverse eukaryotes. These microbes are keystone organisms of soil ecosystems and
    regulate essential processes of soil fertility such as nutrient cycling and plant growth. Despite this,
    protists have received little scientific attention, especially compared to bacteria, fungi and nematodes in
    soil studies. Recent methodological advances, particularly in molecular biology techniques, have made
    the study of soil protists more accessible, and have created a resurgence of interest in soil protistology.
    This ongoing revolution now enables comprehensive investigations of the structure and functioning of
    soil protist communities, paving the way to a new era in soil biology. Instead of providing an exhaustive
    review, we provide a synthesis of research gaps that should be prioritized in future studies of soil
    protistology to guide this rapidly developing research area. Based on a synthesis of expert opinion we
    propose 30 key questions covering a broad range of topics including evolution, phylogenetics, functional
    ecology, macroecology, paleoecology, and methodologies. These questions highlight a diversity of topics
    that will establish soil protistology as a hub discipline connecting different fundamental and applied
    fields such as ecology, biogeography, evolution, plant-microbe interactions, agronomy, and conservation
    biology. We are convinced that soil protistology has the potential to be one of the most exciting frontiers
    in biology.
    Do organic inputs matter – a meta-analysis of additional yield effects for arable crops in Europe
    Hijbeek, R. ; Ittersum, M.K. van; Berge, H.F.M. Ten; Gort, G. ; Spiegel, H. ; Whitmore, A.P. - \ 2017
    Plant and Soil 411 (2017)1. - ISSN 0032-079X - p. 293 - 303.
    Crop yield - Food security - Organic inputs - Soil carbon sequestration - Soil fertility - Soil organic matter

    Background and aims: Organic inputs have a positive effect on the soil organic matter balance. They are therefore an important asset for soil fertility and crop growth. This study quantifies the additional yield effect due to organic inputs for arable crops in Europe when macro-nutrients are not a limiting factor. Methods: A meta-analysis was performed using data from 20 long-term experiments in Europe. Maxima of yield response curves to nitrogen were compared, with and without organic inputs, under abundant P and K supply. Results: We were surprised to find that, across all experiments, the mean additional yield effect of organic inputs was not significant (+ 1.4 % ± 1.6 (95 % confidence interval)). In specific cases however, especially for root and tuber crops, spring sown cereals, or for very sandy soils or wet climates, organic inputs did increase attainable yields. A significant correlation was found between increase in attainable yields and increase in soil organic matter content. Conclusions: Aggregating data from 20 long-term experiments in Europe, this study shows that organic inputs and/or soil organic matter do not necessarily increase yields, given sufficient nutrients are supplied by mineral fertilisers. Results show the relevance of some environmental factors for additional yield effect of organic inputs, but no simple relation between organic inputs and crop growth.

    Many previously incertae sedis amoebozoans find a home within the Centramoebida
    Tice, A.K. ; Shadwick, Lora L. ; Spiegel, Frederick W. ; Geisen, Stefan ; Fiore-Donno, Anna Maria ; Bonkowski, M. ; Dumack, K. ; Kang, S. ; Brown, Matthew W. - \ 2016
    European Journal of Protistology 10 (2016)2. - ISSN 0932-4739 - p. 80 - 81.
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