Soil-based ecosystem services: A synthesis of nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration assessment methods

B Ghaley, J Porter, Harpinder Sandhu

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    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Among the soil-based ecosystem services (ES), nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration have direct influence on the biogeochemical cycles and greenhouse gas emissions affecting provision of other ES that support human existence. We reviewed methods to assess the two key ES by identifying their strengths and weaknesses and have made suggestions for using appropriate methods for better understanding of the ecosystem functions for the provision of ES. Relevant papers for the review were chosen on the basis of (i) diversity of studies on the two key ES in different ecosystems, (ii) methodologies applied and (iii) detailed descriptions of the trial locations in terms of vegetation, soil type, location and climatic information. We concluded that (i) elemental stoichiometrical ratios could be a potential approach to assess the health of ecosystems in terms of provision of the two ES discussed, (ii) stoichiometric imbalances need to be avoided between the supply and the demand of the nutrients to maintain the ES provision in terrestrial ecosystems and (iii) stoichiometric ratios can act as a management tool at a field, farm and at landscape level, to complement other compositional biodiversity and functional diversity approaches to ensure sustainable provision of ES.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-186
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2014


    • assessment methodologies
    • ecosystem functions
    • litter decomposition
    • mineralization
    • stoichiometry


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