New publication on soil biodiversity: state‐of‐the art and implementation in risk assessment

Protecting the structure and functioning of soil ecosystems is one of the central aims of current regulations of chemicals. This is, for instance, shown by the emphasis on the protection of key drivers and ecosystem services proposed by EFSA in the protection goal options for soil organisms. Such targets require insight into soil biodiversity, its role in the functioning of ecosystems and the way it responds to stress. They also ask for tools and methodologies for properly assessing biodiversity. To address these issues, the SETAC Europe 14th Special Science Symposium (SESSS) was held on 19‐20 November 2019 in Brussels. The central aim of this symposium was to provide information on how to include soil biodiversity and soil functions as protection goal options in the quantification of the effects and in the risk assessment of chemicals and other stressors.

The present publication is based on the presentations and discussions at the SESSS. It gives a brief update on the scientific state‐of‐the art of soil biodiversity, novel scientific developments, experimental and modelling approaches, as well as case studies. It also discusses how available approaches could inform future risk assessment of chemicals and other stressors in the regulatory context of protecting soil ecosystems.

For further information, see the publication in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management:

van Gestel, C.A., Mommer, L., Montanarella, L., Pieper, S., Coulson, M., Toschki, A., Rutgers, M., Focks, A., Römbke, J. (2021). Soil biodiversity: state‐of‐the art and possible implementation in chemical risk assessment. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 17, 541-551.

For additional new publications, see ECT’s publication list.