Global hotspots for soil nature conservation are poorly protected

Current protected areas only poorly cover the places most relevant for conserving soil ecological values. To assess global hotspots for preserving soil ecological values, an international team of scientists measured different facets of soil biodiversity (local species richness and uniqueness) and ecosystem services (like water regulation or carbon storage). They found that these facets peaked in contrasting regions of the world. For instance, temperate ecosystems showed higher local soil biodiversity (species richness), while colder ecosystems were identified as hotspots of soil ecosystem services. In addition, the results suggest that tropical and arid ecosystems hold the most unique communities of soil organisms. Soil ecological values are often overlooked in nature conservation management and policy decisions; the new study demonstrates where efforts to protect them are needed most.Current protected areas only poorly cover the places most relevant for conserving soil ecological values. To assess global hotspots for preserving soil ecological values, an international team of scientists measured different facets of soil biodiversity (local species richness and uniqueness) and ecosystem services (like water regulation or carbon storage). They found that these facets peaked in contrasting regions of the world. For instance, temperate ecosystems showed higher local soil biodiversity (species richness), while colder ecosystems were identified as hotspots of soil ecosystem services. In addition, the results suggest that tropical and arid ecosystems hold the most unique communities of soil organisms. Soil ecological values are often overlooked in nature conservation management and policy decisions; the new study demonstrates where efforts to protect them are needed most.

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