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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 26 No. 1, p. 26-31
    Received: Dec 4, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): johan.bouma@bodlan.beng.wau.nl
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Soil Environmental Quality: A European Perspective

  1. J. Bouma 
  1. Department of Soil Science and Geology, Agricultural Univ., Box 37, 6700 AA, Wageningen, the Netherlands



Environmental quality is a major political concern in Europe and the important role of the soil is widely recognized. However, soil science still has an important role to play in translating good intentions into policies supporting the implementation of innovative soil management procedures that can ensure sustainable production systems in harmony with nature. Society is impatient and demands solutions from science. This could in time lead to only holistic, applied research that is not adequately supported by basic research. A plea is made for establishing research chains in which a holistic, interdisciplinary analysis of a problem to be studied is followed by reductionistic basic research in relevant areas. Results are again communicated to and analyzed by the holistic team to be integrated in the overall analysis. Two areas of particular concern in soil research are discussed: (i) the implications of variability in space and time on defining characteristic threshold values for environmental indicators, and (ii) providing data to economists, which will allow them to express environmental effects of soil management practices in monetary terms.

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