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Compaction of subsoil is a hidden but persistent damage that impairs a range of soil functions and ecosystem services. We analyzed the soil compaction issue in the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) context. The driving force (DPSIR-D) is the farmers' efforts to sustain economic viability. This entails a steady increase in the size and weight of the agricultural machinery (DPSIR-P) exerting the specific pressures on the soil system. Simulations using historical data for agricultural machinery show significant increases in the mechanical stresses exerted on the soil profile during the last five decades. Surveys and comparative measurements (DPSIR-S) in the literature indicate that much of the European subsoil is compacted to critical levels for cropping. This calls for changes in agricultural management (DPSIR-R). Mechanical stresses impact the soil (DPSIR-I) by reducing the volume, dimensions, and interconnections of soil pores. Subsequent impacts on ecosystem services (subtle DPSIR-I aspects) include a decrease in crop production, an impaired soil filtering of pollutants, and the risk of higher greenhouse gas emissions. The natural ability of compacted subsoil to recover is poor. We highlight the need to expand the DPSIR concept to include a risk assessment methodology to identify sustainable management systems. Risk assessment involves the evaluation of the mechanistic causeeeffect chain of the compaction process. Measured data as well as modeling indicate that contemporary tires are not able to carry the loads frequently inflicted on wet soil without exerting critical stresses on deep subsoil layers. We suggest the use of online modeling tools that combine existing knowledge. Such tools may also create maps of vulnerable areas from the field to the continent scale. Groups of stakeholders including researchers, farmers and their consultants, and policy-makers need to identify sustainable traffic systems that secure both presently focused ecosystem services as well as nonuse soil values (the bequest for future generations).
|Title of host publication||Advances in Agronomy|
|Publisher||Apple Academic Press Inc|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|Name||Advances in Agronomy|