Response of soil fauna to land use intensification in a global meta-analysis (BoReaL: Bodenfaunareaktion auf Landnutzungsintensivierung)


Soil biodiversity, ecology of land use, agricultural intensification


Land-use intensification, in particular the shift from extensive (low-input) to intensive (high-input) agro-ecosystems, is often considered to be one of the main drivers of global biodiversity decline and is considered to be the main factor exerting pressure on soil biodiversity. In the face of future land use changes, understanding the responses of soil biodiversity to different land use regimes of varying intensity is crucial for appropriate land management. However, there is still considerable uncertainty about how consistently different taxonomic groups respond to land use intensification. The main objective of this project is to systematically assess the effects of land use intensification on soil organisms in global agroecosystems and quantify them through network meta-analysis, as well as to analyse the dependence of these effects on abiotic factors such as soil properties (organic matter, pH, nutrient and water availability, texture), climatic variables and land use history. A global meta-analysis will help to understand whether certain taxonomic or functional groups of organisms are more affected by land use intensification or whether organisms living in areas with a longer land use history show similar responses to those living in areas with a shorter history. The dependence of the effects (magnitude and direction) of land use intensification on soil organisms on the type of intensification studied, climate and soil properties (pH, N, texture, organic matter) can also be quantified by a global meta-analysis. A network meta-analysis is particularly suitable for this purpose as it evaluates all available direct and indirect evidence and eliminates the need for a common reference land use in all studies, as is the case with traditional meta-analyses based on pairwise comparisons (i.e. intervention: cropland vs. reference: undisturbed ecosystems, intervention: pasture vs. reference: undisturbed ecosystems). This allows more studies to be included for the analysis that compare the effects of at least two land use regimes of different intensities on soil organisms (i.e. intervention: cropland vs. reference: pasture; intervention: pasture vs. reference: undisturbed ecosystems).



Main Cooperation Partners

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN)

Main Funding Partners

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Duration of the Project

until January 2024



Bibiana Betancur Corredor

Dr. Bibiana Betancur Corredor