Operationalizing ecosystem services for the mitigation of soil threats: A proposed framework

Schwilch, Gudrun; Bernet, Lea; Fleskens, Luuk; Giannakis, Elias; Leventon, Julia; Marañón, Teodoro; Mills, Jane; Short, Chris; Stolte, Jannes; van Delden, Hedwig; Verzandvoort, Simone (2016). Operationalizing ecosystem services for the mitigation of soil threats: A proposed framework. Ecological indicators, 67, pp. 586-597. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.03.016

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Despite numerous research efforts over the last decades, integrating the concept of ecosystem servicesinto land management decision-making continues to pose considerable challenges. Researchers havedeveloped many different frameworks to operationalize the concept, but these are often specific to acertain issue and each has their own definitions and understandings of particular terms. Based on acomprehensive review of the current scientific debate, the EU FP7 project RECARE proposes an adaptedframework for soil-related ecosystem services that is suited for practical application in the preventionand remediation of soil degradation across Europe. We have adapted existing frameworks by integratingcomponents from soil science while attempting to introduce a consistent terminology that is understand-able to a variety of stakeholders. RECARE aims to assess how soil threats and prevention and remediationmeasures affect ecosystem services. Changes in the natural capital’s properties influence soil processes,which support the provision of ecosystem services. The benefits produced by these ecosystem servicesare explicitly or implicitly valued by individuals and society. This can influence decision- and policymak-ing at different scales, potentially leading to a societal response, such as improved land management.The proposed ecosystem services framework will be applied by the RECARE project in a transdisciplinaryprocess. It will assist in singling out the most beneficial land management measures and in identifyingtrade-offs and win–win situations resulting from and impacted by European policies. The framework thusreflects the specific contributions soils make to ecosystem services and helps reveal changes in ecosystemservices caused by soil management and policies impacting on soil. At the same time, the framework issimple and robust enough for practical application in assessing soil threats and their management withstakeholders at various levels.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Schwilch, Gudrun, Bernet, Lea






[422] RECARE - Preventing and Remediating Degradation of Soils in Europe through Land Care Official URL




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

01 Jun 2016 15:22

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:55

Publisher DOI:






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