Soil Biodiversity : State-of-the-Art and Possible Implementation in Chemical Risk Assessment

Gestel, Cornelis A.M. van; Mommer, Liesje; Montanarella, Luca; Pieper, Silvia; Coulson, Mike; Toschki, Andreas; Rutgers, Michiel; Focks, Andreas; Römbke, Jörg


Protecting the structure and functioning of soil ecosystems is one of the central aims of current regulations of chemicals. This is, for instance, shown by the emphasis on the protection of key drivers and ecosystem services as proposed in the protection goal options for soil organisms by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Such targets require insight into soil biodiversity, its role in the functioning of ecosystems, and the way it responds to stress. Also required are tools and methodologies for properly assessing biodiversity. To address these issues, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe 14th Special Science Symposium (SESSS14) was held 19 to 20 November 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. The central aim of the SESSS14 was to provide information on how to include soil biodiversity and soil functions as protection goal options in the risk assessment and quantification of the effects of chemicals and other stressors (including their respective regulations). This paper is based on the presentations and discussions at the SESSS14 and will give a brief update on the scientific state-of-the art on soil biodiversity, novel scientific developments, experimental and modeling approaches, as well as case studies. It will also discuss how these approaches could inform future risk assessment of chemicals and other stressors in the regulatory context of protecting soil ecosystems. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2020;00:1–11.