Soil health: a comparison between organically and conventionally managed arable soils in the Netherlands

A.D. van Diepeningen, W.J. Blok, G.W. Korthals, A.H.C. van Bruggen, H.C. Ariena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


A comparative study of 13 organic and 13 neighboring conventional arable farming systems was conducted in the Netherlands to determine the effect of management practices on chemical and biological soil properties and soil health. Soils were analyzed using a polyphasic approach combining traditional soil analysis, culture-dependent and independent microbiological analyses, a nematode community analysis and an enquiry about different management practices among the farmers. Organic management resulted in significantly lower levels of both nitrate and total soluble nitrogen in the soil, higher numbers of bacteria of different trophic groups, as well as larger species richness in both bacteria and nematode communities and more resilience to a drying-rewetting disturbance in the soil. All factors together indicating a higher level of soil health under organic management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching Sustainable Systems. Proceedings of the First Scientific Conference of the International Society of Organic Agricultural Research (ISOFAR), Adelaide 21-23 September 2005
EditorsU. Köpke, U. Niggli, D. Neuhoff, P. Cornish, W. Lockeretz, H. Willer
Place of PublicationAdelaide, Australia
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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