Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, April 2014, Vol.177(2), pp.111-120
The United Nations effort to define Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's), emphasizing local goals and capacity building, offers a unique opportunity for soil science to demonstrate the role it can play when focusing on these goals. Several strategic reports have presented key issues for sustainable development: food security, freshwater and energy availability, climate change and biodiversity loss are issues most frequently being listed, not soil degradation. Focusing on soil contributions towards interdisciplinary studies of these key issues, rather than emphasizing soils by themselves, is therefore bound to be more effective for the soil science profession. But this is still inadequate when studying land‐related SDG's, requiring a broader ecosystem approach that can be achieved by a direct link between soil functions and corresponding ecosystem services. Thus, the key issues are not considered separately but linked as part of a dynamic ecosystem characterization following a narrative as is demonstrated for food security, that can be well addressed by precision agriculture. As all key issues and at least five of the ten SDG's are directly land‐related, soil science can potentially play an important role in the suggested interdisciplinary studies. But in addition, the current information society with knowledgeable stakeholders requires innovative and interactive transdisciplinary scientific approaches by not only focusing on knowledge generation but also on co‐learning with stakeholders and, important, on implementation. The soil science discipline can become more effective in the transdisciplinary context by: (1) reconnecting the knowledge chain, linking tacit with scientific knowledge both ways, (2) simplifying soil terminology, (3) learning to deal with “wicked” environmental problems for which no single solutions exist but only a series of alternative options for action, balancing economic, social and environmental considerations, (4) educating “knowledge brokers”, linking science with society in land‐related issues, acting within a “Community of Scientific Practice”, and (5) modernizing soil science curricula. Transdisciplinary approaches are crucial to achieve SDG's, linking science and society. There is a need for specific results on the ground illustrating with hard data the key role soils can play in realizing SDG's.
Inter‐ And Transdisciplinarity ; Precision Agriculture ; Soil Nexus ; Knowledge Brokers ; Communities Of Scientific Practice