Soil Science Challenges in a New Era : A Transdisciplinary Overview of Relevant Topics

Rodrigo-Comino, Jesús; López-Vicente, Manuel; Kumar, Vinod; Rodríguez-Seijo, Andrés; Valkó, Orsolya; Rojas, Claudia; Pourghasemi, Hamid Reza; Salvati, Luca; Bakr, Noura; Vaudour, Emmanuelle; Brevik, Eric C.; Radziemska, Maja; Pulido, Manuel; Prima, Simone Di; Dondini, Marta; Vries, Wim de; Santos, Erika S.; Lourdes Mendonça-Santos, Maria de; Yu, Yang; Panagos, Panos


Transdisciplinary approaches that provide holistic views are essential to properly understand soil processes and the importance of soil to society and will be crucial in the future to integrate distinct disciplines into soil studies. A myriad of challenges faces soil science at the beginning of the 2020s. The main aim of this overview is to assess past achievements and current challenges regarding soil threats such as erosion and soil contamination related to different United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) including (1) sustainable food production, (2) ensure healthy lives and reduce environmental risks (SDG3), (3) ensure water availability (SDG6), and (4) enhanced soil carbon sequestration because of climate change (SDG13). Twenty experts from different disciplines related to soil sciences offer perspectives on important research directions. Special attention must be paid to some concerns such as (1) effective soil conservation strategies; (2) new computational technologies, models, and in situ measurements that will bring new insights to in-soil process at spatiotemporal scales, their relationships, dynamics, and thresholds; (3) impacts of human activities, wildfires, and climate change on soil microorganisms and thereby on biogeochemical cycles and water relationships; (4) microplastics as a new potential pollutant; (5) the development of green technologies for soil rehabilitation; and (6) the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by simultaneous soil carbon sequestration and reduction in nitrous oxide emission. Manuscripts on topics such as these are particularly welcomed in Air, Soil and Water Research.