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Title: The Status of Soil Macrofauna as Indicators of Soil Health to Monitor the Sustainability of Agricultural Soils
Contributor(s): Lobry De Bruyn, Lisa  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 1995
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Abstract: Australian farmers are searching for reliable, easily measured indicators of soil health to monitor sustainability of their enterprises. Over the past five 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 other macrofauna, other than earthworms, are some of the directions 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 we can not indicate to the farmer whether the soil resource is declining in quality, stable or in a process of renewal based on the presence of certain macrofauna.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: The Inaugral Ecological Economics Conference, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, 19-23 November 1995
Conference Details: The Inaugral Ecological Economics Conference, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, 19-23 November 1995
Source of Publication: The Inaugral Ecological Economics Conference, p. 357-366
Publisher: The Australia and New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics and the Centre for Agricultual and Resource Economics
Place of Publication: Canberra, Australia
Field of Research (FOR): 050303 Soil Biology
050206 Environmental Monitoring
050205 Environmental Management
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960604 Environmental Management Systems
960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
960609 Sustainability Indicators
HERDC Category Description: E2 Non-Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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School of Environmental and Rural Science

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