Soil quality, theory and applications. a critical analysis

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Andrea Buondonno *
Elio Coppola
(*) Corresponding Author:
Andrea Buondonno | office@pagepress.org

Abstract

In its common meaning, the concept of “soil quality” is based on evaluating criteria that are subjective and “anthropocentric” rather than objective and “pedocentric”. Several “desirable” or “undesirable” soil conditions and characteristics are considered from the human point of view, disregarding the pedogenetic features. Such an approach perilously leads to support the idea of a “pedogenetic discrimination”, which a priori privileges “superior” vs. “inferior” soils, thus discrediting a large part of soil Subgroups, Great Groups, Suborders, and even whole taxonomic Orders. So, a number of soil functions, such as genic reserve guarantee of space-temporal bio-diversity, environmental good cradle of civilization, foundation of the landscape, as well as upholder of man heritage, are neglected at all. If “quality” only concerned rich and fertile soils, there would be the great and looming risk to definitively take “poor” soils away from agriculture, landscape and global pedological reserve. It is necessary to reconsider the concept of “soil quality” as “soil functionality”, that is to say “aptitude of soil to express its own potential”, bringing out the essential environmental, socio-economic and cultural soil roles on the basis of the inherent conditions and characteristics arising from its peculiar pedogenetic history.

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