Flexible framework for soil health indicator selection

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


With an increasing interest in sustainable and regenerative agricultural schemes, stakeholders are increasingly seeking to monitor the effects of newly implemented farming practices on soil health. However, soil health, understood as the capacity of the soil to deliver several soil functions simultaneously is often difficult to understand, as most soil health assessments focus on monitoring a number of physical, chemical and more recently biological parameters that are often disconnected from soil functioning. At best, these parameters are compared to target values established using standards that fail to properly contextualise the pedo-climatic and management conditions of the soils of interest. Finally, any monitoring of soil health needs to be in line with the stakeholder’s perspective, farmers may need to monitor parameters to guide management decisions in the shorter term or in specific conditions, while law makers will be more interested in landscape level dynamics in soil health. To meet these differing needs for soil health monitoring, the EC funded project BENCHAMRKS will develop a flexible framework for indicator selection that starts from the ground up. This framework defines which soil properties and environmental co-variates can be used to define soil functioning, and how this can be linked to soil management practices for a range of different climatic and land use contexts across Europe. The outcome will provide relevant indicators for soil health assessment, which considers the stakeholder’s perspective, climatic conditions, land use and spatial scale under consideration. In this talk, we present two case studies for the use of this flexible framework.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 Book of Abstracts: Wageningen Soil Conference
Subtitle of host publicationWorking together on solutions for a sustainable world
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventWageningen Soil Conference 2023 - Wageningen
Duration: 28 Aug 20231 Sept 2023


ConferenceWageningen Soil Conference 2023
Internet address


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