Searching for the best soil in the Netherlands

Soil sampling
© S. Emilia Hannula

Searching for the best soil in the Netherlands


What is a good soil? What is a healthy soil?

Scientist would probably answer: ‘one that performs most ecosystem services’ or ‘one that is most diverse and multifunctional’. Farmer would probably answer: ‘one that gives best crop yield (per unit of area) with least inputs needed’. All of these (and other) answers are valid and correct. What we need to remember is that it is important to consider and measure all these parameters. I would add to these answers also the influence of time, as the soil should be fulfilling these criteria now but also in the future. In ecological terms, in the current world, resilience and resistance will play a large role.

My definition here for a good soil is that:

  • It has high biodiversity in terms of functional groups and traits of organisms (and especially fungi)

  • It sustains many ecosystem services, with special focus on carbon sequestration and retention

  • It gives a good crop yield with minimal inputs

  • It will keep up these ecosystem services and good yield under changing conditions (is resistant and/or resilient)

For my experiments, I am looking for the best soils in the Netherlands (and why not in the whole Europe and World!). Do you have a soil that you think is fulfilling all of the characteristics mentioned above? Or do you know about a soil that you think is the best soil?

Let me know and I will include this soil in the preliminary screening of the soil life (including fungal biomass and traits). You will get the results (how good is your soil compared to other soils) and if your soil proves to be one of the best ones, it will be included in the full experiment!

Have a happy Monday everyone!