Measurements of the soil microbial community for estimating the success of restoration
Article first published online: 9 OCT 2003
European Journal of Soil Science
Volume 54, Issue 4, pages 801–808, December 2003
How to Cite
Harris, J. A. (2003), Measurements of the soil microbial community for estimating the success of restoration. European Journal of Soil Science, 54: 801–808. doi: 10.1046/j.1351-0754.2003.0559.x
- Issue published online: 9 OCT 2003
- Article first published online: 9 OCT 2003
- Received 16 May 2002; revised version accepted 4 October 2002
Land degradation is of concern in many countries. In order for timely and effective interventions to be made to reverse this degradation it is necessary to have objective measurements of ecosystem status. By measuring characteristics of the soil microbial community we can assess the status of the microbial ecosystem and in that sense the quality of the soil, and the potential for, and progress of, restoration after degradation.
Recent research has shown quantitatively how by measuring the soil microbial community we can assess degradation and the effects of management designed to reverse it. The size, composition and activity of the soil microbial community convincingly distinguish between systems, and between the impact of management strategies upon them. Measurements of these characteristics of the microbial community provide invaluable information for restoring degraded land and are ready for routine use. Specifically, profiles of phospholipid fatty acid contents, and substrate induced respiratory responses to different carbon substrates, will yield significant data upon which management decisions may be based.