Climate change and cropland management compromise soil integrity and multifunctionality

 October 26, 2023 | Communications Earth & Environment 

Introduction: Researchers from German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research investigated the impact of climate change and land use on multiple soil functions, utilizing both observational and experimental data. The research assessd whether results from manipulative field experiments align with observed trends in climate, land use, and soil multifunctionality across Europe, which involved measuring seven ecosystem functions, such as microbil respiration, microbial biomass, etc.

Key findings: The observational data revealed a Europe-wide decline in soil multifunctionality associated with rising temperatures and dry conditions, and such decline was exacerbated by cropland management. The experimental data supported these findings, indicating that climate-induced changes will likely reduce soil multifunctionality in croplands and grasslands. The conversion of grasslands to croplands was identified as a threat to soil system integrity. The study emphasized the importance of enhancing soil multifunctionality in arable systems to preserve soil functions amid changing climate conditions.

Read more


Fig. | Structural Equation Models showing the results from two complementary studies on the effects of climate (change) and land use (cropland versus grassland) on soil multifunctionality.