Soils are viewed in the context of ecosystem services, soil processes and properties, and key attributes and constraints. The framework used is based on the premise that the natural capital of soils that underlies ecosystem services is primarily determined by three core soil properties: texture, mineralogy, and soil organic matter. Up-to-date descriptions and geographical distribution of soil orders as well as soil attributes and constraints are given, along with the relationships between soil orders, properties, and biomes. We then relate ecosystem services to specific soil processes, soil properties, and soil constraints and attributes. Soil degradation at present is not adequately assessed and quantified. The use of an approach combining digital soil maps, pedotransfer functions, remote sensing, spectral analysis, and soil inference systems is suggested for simultaneous characterization of various chemical, physical, and biological properties to overcome the great limitations and costs of conventional methods of soil assessments.
236CJTimes Cited:0Cited References Count:120