The importance of soil quality and its functions such as nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, water quality and biodiversity for climate regulation and a sustainable agriculture is more and more recognized. As a limited resource, soil is permanently under pressure and also highly affected by climate change. It often remains unclear how environmental change as well as new management strategies influence the various soil functions and their interactions on the different scales.
Computational models can help to understand and predict effects of a changing environment on soil properties, functions and their relationship by describing soil processes and organism dynamics. However, combining different interrelated functions and processes of a complex system such as soil remain rather challenging especially when scale transfers are needed. Related to that, there is an ongoing debate in how far and to what level of detail biological processes and interactions need to be represented in modelling soil functions.
This is a formidable scientific challenge related to upscaling soil processes from detailed interactions at the pore scale to effective soil functions at the scale of soil profiles or even the landscape scale.
With this session, we want to address several open questions:
a. What biological processes do we need to consider for modelling the dynamics of soil functions?
What data or mechanistic knowledge is missing for modelling soil functions and biological processes?
What are the relevant metrics representing key soil functions and defining soil quality?
b. How much details are needed to adequately describe the system, while keeping models simple enough for understanding their dynamics on different scales?
How important is the incorporation of spatial heterogeneity?
c. What is the appropriate level of model complexity to advice on optimal agricultural management practices?
What can we gain from such models to optimize field experiments?
This session presents theoretical concepts, scaling approaches and mechanistic models for simulating soil properties, functions and biological processes; as well as experimental or field studies which may help to improve modelling approaches.
This session has been promoted by:
Sustainable Agroecosystems (AGRISOST, https://www.agrisost.org/en/)
International Soil Modeling Consortium (ISMC, https://soil-modeling.org/)
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