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Using Functional Traits of Soil Organisms in Ecological Engineering to restore sustainable SUITMA: A Promising Approach?

Abstract : Ecological engineering has been originally defined as the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrates human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both (Mitsch and Jørgensen, 1989). This nature-based management might be relevant especially to restore sustainable SUITMA. Despite promising results using earthworms (Ampoorter et al 2011), termites (Mando 1997) or ants (Bulot et al 2014), soil invertebrates that play a major role in ecosystem functioning are rarely considered in the existing restoration programs. One current limitation to their use is the impossibility to determine an effective and site-specific list of species to be reintroduced for restoring soil chemical and physical properties. This can be solved by embracing the functional diversity of soil communities through adopting a functional trait-based approach. Instead of a classic taxonomic approach, functional traits can help to reduce context dependency and therefore enable generalization across communities and ecosystems. Pey et al. (2014) defined soil invertebrates’ traits as “morphological, physiological, phenological or behavioral features, measurable at the individual level, from the cell to the whole-organism level, without reference to the environment or any other level of organization”. While plant traits are already precisely incorporated in ecological restoration approaches (e.g. to select suitable plant species for restoration), this is rarely the case for soil organisms yet. Our working group of scientists in soil ecology and ecological engineering addressed the potential to use soil organisms’ functional traits to conceive sustainable and integrative ecosystem SUITMA restoration. We proposed a list of key traits related to three main ecological functions (soil structuration, nutrient and pollutant cycling process, biocontrol and preys’ regulation) that could be considered depending on the focus of the restoration plan. We further highlighted the main gaps of knowledge that need to be addressed for a successful integration of soil organisms’ functional traits in ecological engineering.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 30, 2020 - 11:01:57 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 12:10:01 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-03030638, version 1



A Auclerc, L Beaumelle, S Barantal, Olivier Bligth, Matthieu Chauvat, et al.. Using Functional Traits of Soil Organisms in Ecological Engineering to restore sustainable SUITMA: A Promising Approach?. SUITMA 10, Jun 2019, Séoul, South Korea. ⟨hal-03030638⟩



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