Soil indicators to assess the effectiveness of restoration strategies in dryland ecosystems
- 1Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria, Agrobiology and Pedology Research Centre, Firenze, Italy
- 2Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental changes, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, Lisbon, Portugal
- 3Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
- 4Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Yotvata 88820, Israel
- 5Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo (CEAM), Valencia, Spain and Dep. Ecologia, Universidad de Alicante, Alicante, Spain
- 6International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Amman, Jordan and Dipartimento di Agraria & Desertification Research Centre (NRD), University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
Abstract. Soil indicators may be used for assessing both land suitability for restoration and the effectiveness of restoration strategies in restoring ecosystem functioning and services. In this review paper, several soil indicators, which can be used to assess the effectiveness of ecological restoration strategies in dryland ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales, are discussed. The selected indicators represent the different viewpoints of pedology, ecology, hydrology, and land management. Two overall outcomes stem from the review. (i) The success of restoration projects relies on a proper understanding of their ecology, namely the relationships between soil, plants, hydrology, climate, and land management at different scales, which are particularly complex due to the heterogeneous pattern of ecosystems functioning in drylands. (ii) The selection of the most suitable soil indicators follows a clear identification of the different and sometimes competing ecosystem services that the project is aimed at restoring.