The goal of SOB4ES is to make soil biodiversity (SOB) and its contribution to ecosystem services (ES) visible for society, and quantifiable as well as integrated into EU regulations and policy instruments. Addressing this key challenge requires to elucidate SOB status across major land uses (LU) in the major pedoclimatic regions across Europe to establish reliable links between SOB to ES, and to test which reliable SOB indicators can be used to assess ecosystem conditions in a cost-effective way. One aim is to deliver comparisons of land use intensity (LUI) across Europe with respect to composition and structure of SOB, ecosystem functions and services, and financial, as well as socio-economic consequences. SOB4ES results ad outputs will contribute to the Mission “A Soil Deal for Europe”, in particular to its specific objective 6 “Improve soil structure to enhance habitat quality for soil biota and crops” through the design of SOB-friendly management practices. Project results will also assist to design more targeted (policy) incentives that legally bind of SOB protection at the EU level to ensure that all soils in the EU are in good biological conditions by 2050.

The common goal of SOB4ES and the Biodiversity Exploratories is to make soil biological diversity and its contribution to important ecosystem services visible and quantifiable for society and to derive social and political recommendations for action from this.

For this purpose, data on the following parameters should be recorded:

  • Recording of the soil macrofauna by hand selection on site
  • Recording soil mesofauna by heat extraction in the laboratory
  • Determination of soil microfauna by wet extraction in the laboratory
  • Capturing bacterial and fungal diversity through amplicon sequencing
  • Recording of microbial biomass
  • Abiotic soil parameters (Corg, Norg content, pH)

Selection of sites and planned field work

  • Sampling of 3 intensively managed grassland areas
  • Sampling of 3 extensively managed grassland areas
  • and if available (optional), sampling from 3 locations each on very extensively managed lean grassland
  • Sampling of 3 former spruce plots (bark beetle infestation)
  • Sampling of 3 managed forest plots
  • Sampling of 3 extensively managed forest plots

Sampling takes place outside the actual plot areas as follows:

  • One hole in the ground for earthworm extraction by hand selection on site (approx. 20 cm diameter, holes are filled back in)
  • 4 ground holes each for ground mesofauna (5 cm diameter)
  • 2 base holes each for nematodes (2 cm diameter)
  • Approx. 1 kg of soil FG for microbial and soil chemical analyses

Cooperations are projects financed by the cooperation partners’ own funds and thus financially independent of the DFG-funded infrastructure priority program ‟Biodiversity Exploratories (BE)”. They complement the BE with further interesting research content on biodiversity research and in return benefit from the infrastructure of the Biodiversity Exploratories.

Scientific assistants

Prof. Dr. Michael Bonkowski
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Michael Bonkowski
Universität zu Köln