John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

The practicalities and pitfalls of establishing a policy‐relevant and cost‐effective soil biological monitoring scheme

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A large number of biological indicators have been proposed over the years for assessing soil quality. While many of those have been applied in monitoring schemes across Europe, no consensus exists on the extent to which these indicators might perform best and how monitoring schemes can be further optimised in terms of scientific and political relevance. Over the past decade developments in environmental monitoring and risk assessment converged towards the use of indicators and endpoints that are related to soil functioning and ecosystem services. In view of the proposed EU Soil Framework Directive, there is an urgent need to identify and evaluate indicators for soil biodiversity and ecosystem services. The recently started integrated project EcoFINDERS (Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils) aims to address this specific issue within the EU Framework Program FP7. Here we: discuss how to use the concept of ecosystem services in soil monitoring; review former and ongoing monitoring schemes; and present an analysis of meta‐data on biological indicators in some EU member states. Finally, we discuss our experiences in establishing a logical sieve approach to devise a monitoring scheme for a standardised and harmonised application at European scale. Integr Environ Assess Manag © 2013 SETAC

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