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Biodiversity of urban soils for sustainable cities

Guilland, C., Maron, P. A., Damas, O., Ranjard, L.
Environmental chemistry letters 2018 v.16 no.4 pp. 1267-1282
biodiversity, carbon sequestration, cities, environmental quality, humans, issues and policy, soil management, soil quality, urban agriculture, urban areas, urban development, urban planning, urban soils
The last century was marked by a high demographic revolution and the fast development of urban environments. Now, more than 50% of the world’s 7.5 billion humans live in cities. This change has often induced the degradation of environmental quality in urban areas. As a consequence, management policies are now fostering the ‘return of nature’ in cities, which, in turn, is requiring a better understanding of the ecology of urban environments. In particular, there is a need for a better knowledge on soil management because soils provide many functions in cities such as urban agriculture. Optimizing the diversity of soil-living organisms is essential to many environmental functions such as water depollution, biochemical cycles, fertility and carbon storage. However, few studies on the biological quality of urban soils have been performed so far. This article reviews actual knowledge on soil biological quality for urban management. The definition of urban soils is discussed, and we present services provided by soils. We also review modern methods and techniques to assess the biological quality of urban soils. Last, we suggest communication means to improve the consideration of soil quality in urban planning policies aimed at sustainable cities.