Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz


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Centre for Soil Research

Within the BMBF – sponsored research initiative Soil as a sustainable resource for the a new knowledge centre for soil functions and services in Germany is being developed: the BonaRes – Centre for Soil Research. The Centre is a cooperative project of the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz (SMNG) as well as the Technical University of Munich. The main goals are to research the effects of land use on soil functions and to develop strategies for a sustainable use and management of soils.

Towards these goals, a soil information system will be established that bundles the expertise of scientists from different areas of soil research (i.e., soil science, microbiology and zoology). Within this collaboration, the SMNG is primarily responsible for soil biological aspects as well as linking edaphobase with the BonaRes Centre.


Fig. 1

Soils are a complex system, in which many factors and processes work together to produce complicated interactive structures (Fig. 1). The manifold physical, chemical and biological interactions result in soil functions and ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, water filtration, development and stabilization of soil structure as well as protection from pests and disease. In the end, the agricultural primary production depends on these processes. The comprehensive understanding of soil systems is essential in order to secure or increase harvests over the long term. To this end, within the BonaRes Centre, the SMNG will engage in the identification and quantification of biological drivers of soil functions, the development of indicators for assessing these functions as well as the provision of biological parameters for models of soil functions.
Fig. 1. Soils are a complex, open system which interacts with the natural and socio-economical environment. The soil functions resulting from the complex interactions of the physical, chemical and biological processes generate socio-ecological feedbacks. The figure depicts only a few exemplary links.



Pseudoskorpion © B. Lang; Senckenberg
Collembola © B. Lang; Senckenberg
Oribatida © B. Lang; Senckenberg