FI-8 :: Assessment of soil ecosystem services and biodiversity

Soil ecosystem services have not been researched as extensively as superterranean ecosystem services, despite soil and groundwater constitute an integral part of most ecosystem functions. Soil contributes to e.g. ecosystem productivity, efficient use of nutrients, cleaning harmful substances from waters. The biodiversity of soils is a precondition for the production of ecosystem services. The diversity of species in the soil has an impact on soil structure and resilience, particularly in changing environmental conditions. The connection of soil genetic diversity to soil biological functions and ecosystem services needs also particular attention. Gene-mining and exploitation potential of genetic diversity can open new business possibilities e.g. new drugs. This can be supported by the establishment of national biodatabank and maintaining microbe stocks that have been isolated, identified and already utilised. Potential beneficiary and financer is pharmaceutical industry.
Possible research questions may be:
• How soil and water-related ecosystem services can be mapped, assessed, monitored, valued, productized?
Natural capital
• What are soil functional and genetic diversity’s connections to ecosystem processes and – services?
• How to identify in different areas the most important ecosystem services to be secured and what are necessary measures to maintain and increase them?
Land management
• How to use soil genetic diversity to promote new businesses in a sustainable way e.g. through identifying potentially exploitable microbes, maintaining already identified and utilised microbe stocks and establishing a national biodatabank?
• How soil and water-related ecosystem services can be taken into account in land use planning?