Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/21508
Title: The status of soil macrofauna as indicators of soil health to monitor the sustainability of Australian agricultural soils
Contributor(s): Lobry De Bruyn, Lisa  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 1997
DOI: 10.1016/S0921-8009(97)00052-9
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/21508
Abstract: Australian farmers are searching for reliable, easily measured indicators of soil health to monitor sustainability of their enterprises. Over the past 5 years earthworms have been promoted as indicators of soil health by some researchers. Others have been reluctant to accept soil macrofauna in general as soil health indicators; Their reluctance is based on the difficulty of interpreting biological data in relation to soil health as there is no clear understanding of the links between soil macrofauna and soil health. The problem is further compounded by the inherent difficulty in studying soil biota, inadequate experimental design, and the lack of long-term commitment to funding such studies. This paper reflects on current research, and maps out conditions and directions for future research if the role of soil macrofauna in soil health is to be better understood. The compilation of adequate baseline data, the appropriate delineation of experimental plots, attention to the totality of environmental conditions including land management practices, the consideration of impact by macrofauna other than earthworms, are some of the directions are outlined. The challenge in the future will be to shift the emphasis of soil macrofauna research towards understanding their function in soil processes essential to ecosystem functioning. Without this sort of experimental evidence scientists cannot indicate to the farmer whether the soil resource is declining in quality, is stable or in a process of renewal based on the presence or absence of certain macrofauna.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Ecological Economics, 23(2), p. 167-178
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Place of Publication: The Netherlands
ISSN: 0921-8009
1873-6106
Field of Research (FOR): 050102 Ecosystem Function
050206 Environmental Monitoring
050303 Soil Biology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
960609 Sustainability Indicators
961403 Forest and Woodlands Soils
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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