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Über dieses Buch

This book introduces the concept of soil security and its five dimensions: Capability, Capital, Condition, Connectivity and Codification. These five dimensions make it possible to understand soil's role in delivering ecosystem services and to quantify soil resource by measuring, mapping, modeling and managing it. Each dimension refers to a specific aspect: contribution to global challenges (Capability), value of the soil (Capital), current state of the soil (Condition), how people are connected to the soil (Connectivity) and development of good policy (Codification). This book considers soil security as an integral part of meeting the ongoing challenge to maintain human health and secure our planet's sustainability. The concept of soil security helps to achieve the need to maintain and improve the world’s soil for the purpose of producing food, fiber and freshwater, and contributing to energy and climate sustainability. At the same time it helps to maintain biodiversity and protects ecosystem goods and services.



Rationale for Soil Security


Chapter 1. Soil Security: A Rationale

The concept of soil security has strategic value in that it can serve to focus and guide the development of policies addressing the six global existential challenges, such that interventions for one challenge result in favourable effects on other challenges. Soil security arises from both top-down (global challenge) and bottom-up (societal value) considerations. We envision it as a homologous concept to those of food and water security. The major goal is to measure and manage the five dimensions of capability, condition, capital, connectivity and codification.

Alex B. McBratney, Damien J. Field, Cristine L. S. Morgan, Lorna E. Jarrett

Chapter 2. Soil Security: Dimensions

Soil security is a concept that will make it possible to understand soil and its role in delivering ecosystem services and is used to quantify the soil resource by measuring it, mapping it, modelling it, managing it and forecasting its change. To achieve this will require a coming together of soil scientists, economists, social scientists and policy makers to discuss and contribute to the decision-making about soil. To frame this discussion requires a multidimensional approach whereby soil security acknowledges five dimensions of (1) capability, (2) condition, (3) capital, (4) connectivity and (5) codification. Each of these dimensions encompasses the social, economic and biophysical disciplines that contribute to providing good relevant soil knowledge, its use and integration into policy and legal frameworks. These dimensions can be used to assess the seven recognised functions that soil provides to society and are useful in characterising the threats to soil security.

Damien J. Field



Chapter 3. Soil Capability: Exploring the Functional Potentials of Soils

Capability, a term that has been well defined in welfare economics, can be applied to soil by defining the intrinsic capacity of a soil to contribute to ecosystem services, including biomass production. Seven soil functions are used to define capabilities, and combining different functions in storylines provides integrated expressions for capability considering the different functions. Applied to biomass production in a sustainable production system, potential production (Yp) is defined as a function of radiation, temperature, CO2 and plant physiology. Yp is independent of soil and provides an absolute point of reference. Yw represents water-limited yield, reflecting actual water regimes and assuming that soil fertility is adequate and pests and diseases don’t occur. Ya represents actual yield. A soil capability index (SCI) is defined as SCI = (Ya/Yw) × 100 for a biomass production storyline for rainfed production systems. Some examples are presented. Using simulation modelling, Yp can be simulated for a given climate and Yw can be simulated for a given soil in a probabilistic manner using weather data for 30 years as a form of quantitative land evaluation. Ya can be measured. Not only capability, as such, is important, however, but also the way in which capability can be realized under practical conditions. Then, a management support system is needed to guide a farmer real time through the growing season, also taking into account long-term effects. Capability is defined for a given type of soil (the genoform), but sometimes management has had significant effects on soil properties, requiring a phenoform approach, as is illustrated.

Johan Bouma, M. K. van Ittersum, J. J. Stoorvogel, N. H. Batjes, P. Droogers, M. M. Pulleman

Chapter 4. Distinguishing Between Capability and Condition

Soil security is a concept that will make it possible to understand soil and its role in delivering ecosystem services and is used to quantify the soil resource. Of the five dimensions, capability and condition focus on the biophysical aspects of soil, and there is the potential to develop a data set of indicators to assess these two dimensions. The timescales of change and the ability to manage soils described by these dimensions will affect the choice of soil properties as indicators. Once established these indicators will be useful to users, managers and regulators of soil and the ongoing monitoring of changes in the soil’s condition to avoid undesirable outcomes. This will involve understanding the soil’s resilience to change both from a biophysical and socio-economic interpretation, i.e. focusing on the capability and its condition, respectively.

Damien J. Field, T. Sanderson

Chapter 5. Valuing of Soil Capability in Land Surface Modeling

Land surface models (LSMs) simulate the mass and energy fluxes between the land surface and atmosphere and provide a critical link between hydrological and atmospheric models. In turn, hydrological and atmospheric models are being used to understand implications of policy changes on the global challenges of food, water, and energy security, as well as human health and biodiversity. These policy questions also address how solutions to these challenges might alter under drought and increased climate variability. Hence, LSMs have a broad base of users, for example, the Noah LSM has thousands of users, globally. Nonetheless, the Noah-MP LSM is using soil maps from the early 1990s and assuming vertically homogenous soil that is uniformly deep to 2 m. While it is known that soil water storage capacity and conductivity has a strong influence on energy fluxes, the disconnect is clear between knowledge of soil variability in the soil science community and land surface modeling activities in the atmospheric science community. An important step in securing the soil resource is acknowledging the role of soil in the global challenges. Soil provides a significant source of memory in the climate prediction system, so not having proper linkages and storages has the potential for significantly limiting model prediction accuracy. Currently, LSMs work well to predict climate; however, when policy makers ask the question of how climate variability alters food, water, and energy security, the scale of simulation must change, and answers from the scientific community are confined because soil science knowledge is not well represented in the accepted accounting system (the LSM). Ultimately, a better accounting of soil capability in the soil-plant-water-atmosphere exchanges of energy and mass is vital to soil security and addressing global challenges. In this chapter, we presented a case study that shows how soil information affected LSM’s water and energy flux outputs in eastern Texas, USA.

Cristine L. S. Morgan, Yohannes T. Yimam, Michael Barlage, David Gochis, Bright Dornblaser

Chapter 6. Soil Capability for the USA Now and into the Future

Historically, the US National Cooperative Soil Survey used soil properties to define soil capability and function primarily for farm, forestry, and grazing land practices. The maps, which are consolidated into an official web-based database, are derived from a framework of land classification, combined soil properties (both estimated and measured), and land management classification. The mapping was originally conceived as a practical tool to provide farmers and community planners with information on the basic soil resource for economic gain. For more than 75 years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) has used land capability classification as a tool for planning conservation measures and practices on farms so that the land could be used without serious deterioration from erosion or other causes. The land capability classification is one of innumerable methods of land classification based on broad interpretations of soil qualities and other site and climatic characteristics. Modern soil surveys have evolved to portray soil interpretations and soil capability both geospatially and with data analysis. As the functionality of the National Soil Survey Information System (NASIS) and Soil Survey Geographic System (SSURGO) increases, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is advancing its interpretation program nationally to address security issues within the context of soil capability beyond land use and land cover. Soil capability for any potential human use or ecosystem service must be assessed within the context of soil properties, either measured or estimated. Using soil security as a framework (including capability, condition, capital, connectivity, and codification), soil interpretations of the US National Cooperative Soil Survey database may be tailored to address the questions of sustainability and climate change at local, regional, and global scales and to facilitate the transfer of technology to other countries and related scientific disciplines.

Maxine J. Levin, R. Dobos, S. Peaslee, D. W. Smith, C. Seybold

Chapter 7. Quantifying Capability: GlobalSoilMap

GlobalSoilMap is an initiative of the Digital Soil Mapping Working Groups of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS, Available at Accessed 22 Oct 2015). It aims to meet the needs of the modelling community, farmers, land managers, policy developers and decision-makers, by creating a fine resolution (100 × 100 m grid) quantitative digital soil map of the world, using state-of-the-art and emerging technologies such as remote sensing, data mining and spatial databases. The data will be stored in a freely available distributed system with a set of standards for Web services. The approach has three components: digital soil mapping, recommendations for soil management and providing service to end users (Sanchez et al. Science 325, 2009). The project originated in 2006 as an effort to address the unmet need for quantitative answers to questions about soil-related issues such as soil carbon sequestration, the impact of soil carbon on biomass production and the change in soil status over time. To address such questions requires information about stores and fluxes of water, carbon, nutrients and solutes, in other words, functional properties of soils. The most significant stocks and flows are water including run-off, leaching, waterlogging and water available to plants, nutrients, carbon, solutes and acidification. Access to information about soil properties reduces risks in decision-making, but in order to understand and manage these risks, estimates of uncertainties in soil properties are required. Therefore, all quantitative data in the GlobalSoilMap will have an associated uncertainty. The project is facilitated by the synthesis of pedology, which focuses on soil processes, and pedometrics, which focuses on quantitative analyses.

Alex B. McBratney, Dominique Arrouays, Lorna E. Jarrett

Chapter 8. Testing the Links Between Soil Security, Sustainable Land Management Practices and Land Evaluation

A matrix based on the six global challenges identified for soil security (food security, water security, energy security, climate change abatement, human health, biodiversity protection) and the dimensions of soil security (capability, condition, capital, connectivity, codification) is proposed as a tool to demonstrate the links between soil security, sustainable land management and soil and land evaluation. The matrix was tested using a number of published systems of sustainable land management (SLM) practices and soil and land evaluation systems. This approach clearly validated the value and potential of the soil security concept in developing and promoting sustainable land management practices. However, it also identified several issues that need further discussion and consideration including the following: the need for a realignment of the definitions of capability and condition in the soil security concept; the recognition that soil capability cannot be assessed separately from land and site characteristics; the need for more emphasis on land management practices especially in the interaction with capability to produce the resultant soil condition; and clearer, more specific definitions of what is included under the dimensions of connectivity and codification.

Brian Murphy



Chapter 9. General Concepts of Valuing and Caring for Soil

Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, concepts have arisen to define how society values and cares for soil. The earliest, soil conservation, focused narrowly on the causes and prevention of soil erosion. Other early concepts were land evaluation and capability and soil care. More recently, a large number of concepts have been proposed. These have a broader scope, reflecting increases in scientific understanding of soil and its interactions with other parts of the biosphere and with human society. They include soil function, soil quality, soil health, soil condition, soil change, soil resilience, soil ecosystem services and soil protection. However, none of these concepts includes the full range of ways in which society needs to value and care for soil, and some are vague in definition. The concept of soil security has five dimensions: capability, condition, capital, connectivity and codification (McBratney AB, Field DJ, Koch A et al., Geoderma 213:203–213, 2014). These recognise specific concepts of soil value and care.

Alex B. McBratney, Damien J. Field, Lorna E. Jarrett

Chapter 10. Soil Health: Challenges and Opportunities

In recent years, a broad stakeholder base within the agricultural sector and among the public has become aware of the critical importance of healthy soils, spurred by public awareness campaigns and workshops. As we continue to grapple with a changing climate and more extreme weather events, regenerating the health and proper functioning of our nation’s, and indeed world’s, soil resource will markedly improve the capacity of soil to maintain or increase yield and yield stability, lower input costs, and contribute to other ecosystem services. This is true not only for croplands but also for pastures and native rangelands, orchards, and forests. To aid in moving forward initiatives to help farmers and ranchers improve the soil resource base, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has created a new Soil Health Division (SHD). Personnel distributed across the country will facilitate soil health technical training and education for stakeholders, work with partners to standardize soil health assessments, promote soil health management systems as part of the conservation planning process, and facilitate implementation and long-term adoption of soil health management systems on our nation’s agricultural lands. The new division will leverage skills, resources, technology, and partnerships to achieve these goals.

Diane E. Stott, Bianca N. Moebius-Clune

Chapter 11. Using Soil Survey to Assess and Predict Soil Condition and Change

Soil survey organizes the landscape into units with common soil properties, characteristics, and classification. Soil survey units can be used to predict soil behavior and thus are useful for making management decisions and evaluating soil change. Traditionally, in the USA, soil survey mapping concepts have been developed with the dominant use of the landscape in mind. Current enhancement of soil survey includes documenting dynamic soil properties and soil change due to ecosystem management. Ecological sites are a concept used to describe “kinds of land” that have common potential kinds and amounts of vegetation and characteristic response to disturbance. In intensively managed (agronomic) systems, inputs (e.g., energy, fertilizer, irrigation water) can confound and homogenize vegetation indicators. In these situations, ecological site concepts, as constructed through state and transition models, can be differentiated based upon levels of soil function (indicated by dynamic soil properties) that occur as a result of the management (disturbance). Groupings and interpreting soil properties using an ecological site framework can serve as a useful tool for soil resource management and assessment and bring whole ecosystem insight into management decisions. Such organizational frameworks should provide information about both reference conditions and alternative management systems of soil functions or dynamic soil properties within an ecological site. Reference conditions might reflect either native or naturalized vegetation or the highest possible function that an ecological site could support. A framework for assessing soil condition in two ecological sites/soil types is examined. The capacity of each ecological site is different as indicated by soil carbon content and aggregate stability. This information allows for documentation of soil change (from reference to alternative states or management systems); it could also be used as a reference for soil health assessments and could be used to enhance soil survey with land use and management-specific information.

Skye Wills, Candiss Williams, C. Seybold, Linda Scheffe, Zamir Libohova, David Hoover, Curtis Talbot, Joel Brown

Chapter 12. Root-Microbe Interactions in Response to Soil Conditions

Soil microbes are a substantial component of soils and are essential for many soil functions and capability. Many recent studies have confirmed the beneficial root-microbe associations for soil and plant health, including root growth, fitness, and stress tolerance of plants under different soil conditions. Roots and rhizosphere microbial communities are in flux with the environment; as a result, root-microbe interactions shift in response to soil conditions. Some soil conditions like moisture stress (transient soil condition) and acidity and alkalinity (inherent soil conditions) are common constraints for many beneficial root-microbe interactions. For example, during drought, the plant microbiome is significantly altered in many crops, and plants may select unique microbes to improve drought tolerance. Studies have shown that the phylogenetic and the physiological adaptations by some microbes in response to moisture stress can benefit plants. Soil constraints such as subsoil acidity and aluminum or salt toxicity can be detrimental to some plant-beneficial microbes like mycorrhizae. As a result, novel root-microbe interactions do occur most likely in subsoil, which may be critical for improving root fitness and soil health in the subsoil. There are opportunities to improve the root-microbe interactions through diversification of cropping systems and sustainable management practices. Further research is needed to clearly outline beneficial root-microbe interactions in response to soil conditions and fill knowledge gaps to effectively integrate belowground interactions with soil and crop management.

Anil Somenahally

Chapter 13. Securing Our Soil in Intensive Monoculture Cropping Systems

Adoption of reduced tillage and no-till cotton is one of the most rapidly growing conservation areas in the United States. As conservation tillage expands in use, understanding the impact of transitioning to such systems on nutrient cycling and soil compaction and the soil’s overall health becomes paramount. Our objective was to measure the impact of long-term conservation tillage systems in cotton production systems on soil chemical, physical, and biological properties. The Soil Health Tool developed by USDA-ARS was used to measure biological properties of soil samples taken to a depth of 15 cm. Soil physical properties measured included bulk density, soil strength using penetrometers (cone index values), and infiltration. Soil cores were taken to a depth of 90 cm and segmented for analysis of soil chemical properties. Soil carbon was higher in the upper 10 cm for systems that had been in no-till for more than 10 years. We also observed that carbon sequestration was higher in systems that incorporated crop rotation, particularly wheat, versus a continuous cotton system. Among locations through the Southern High Plains of Texas, infiltration rates were generally greater in conservation tillage systems than adjacent conventional tillage systems.

Katie L. Lewis, Paul DeLaune, Wayne Keeling

Chapter 14. Soil Organic Carbon Stocks and Soil Respiration in Tropical Secondary Forests in Southern Mexico

The soil CO2 efflux is recognized as one of the largest fluxes in the global carbon cycle, and small changes in the magnitude of soil respiration could have a large consequence on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. In this study, we analyzed the soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and CO2 efflux from soil respiration in a tropical secondary forest succession grown after abandonment of swidden agriculture in Southern Mexico. The study was conducted in a chronosequence of semievergreen tropical secondary and primary forests in the southern part of Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. We collected soil samples (up to 30 cm depth) from 32 carbon monitoring plots and analyzed these for physical and chemical soil properties. Soil respiration measurements were carried out by using PP systems EGM-4 (an infrared gas analyzer). Analysis of variance (ANOVA), correlation, and regression was performed to test differences between forest age groups as the independent variable and soil respiration, organic as well as inorganic carbon in soil. Contrary to the hypothesis, SOC in the mineral soil horizon did not increase with forest age. Soil CO2 efflux did not correlate to soil organic carbon, it rather correlated to carbonate concentration in the soil. Higher CO2 efflux in carbonate rich soils can be explained probably by the faster decomposition but the slower ultimate mixing of organic matter in mineral soils of carbonate origin. However, it needs further investigation in separating soil CO2 efflux into autotrophic, heterotrophic, and abiotic fluxes to better understand the role of carbonate soils in atmospheric CO2 exchange.

Deb Raj Aryal, Bernardus Hendricus Joseph De Jong, Jorge Mendoza-Vega, Susana Ochoa-Gaona, Ligia Esparza-Olguín

Chapter 15. Simulating Impacts of Bioenergy Sorghum Residue Return on Soil Organic Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Using the DAYCENT Model

Different residue management practices can affect carbon (C) allocation and thus soil C and nitrogen (N) turnover. A biogeochemical model, DAYCENT, was used to simulate the effects of bioenergy Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] residue return on soil temperature and water content, soil organic carbon (SOC), and greenhouse gas (GHG) [carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O)] emissions under bioenergy Sorghum production. Coefficient of determination (r2) was used to test model performance. Coefficients of determination between the observed and simulated soil temperature, soil water content, SOC, and annual CO2 and N2O emissions were 0.94, 0.81, 0.75, 0.97, and 0.0057, respectively, indicating that the DAYCENT model captured the major patterns of soil environmental factors and C turnover but was less accurate in estimating N2O emissions. Compared with the simulated control (0 % residue return), the simulated 50 % residue return treatment had 7.77 %, 15.12 %, and 1.25 % greater SOC, annual CO2, and N2O emissions, respectively, averaged over 2 years’ data (2010 and 2011). Similar patterns in the simulated outputs were also observed in our field trials, with percentages being 4.52 %, 15.98 %, and 12.89 %, respectively. The model also successfully reflected the daily GHG flux variation affected by treatments, management practices, and seasonal changes except for missing some high growing season fluxes. In addition, annual variations in the simulated outputs were comparable with field observations except the N2O emissions in the 50 % residue return treatment. Our study indicated that DAYCENT reasonably simulated the main effects of residue return on soil C turnover but underestimated N2O emissions.

Yong Wang, Fugen Dou, Joseph O. Storlien, Jason P. Wight, Keith H. Paustian, Stephen J. Del Grosso, Frank M. Hons

Chapter 16. Cover Crops for Enriching Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Under Bioenergy Sorghum

Soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) can be enriched with cover crops under agronomic crops, but little is known about their enrichment under bioenergy crops. Legume (hairy vetch [Vicia villosa Roth]), nonlegume (rye [Secale cereale L.]), a mixture of legume and nonlegume (hairy vetch and rye), and a control with no cover crop were grown in the winter to evaluate their effects on soil organic C (SOC), total N (STN), and nitrate-N (NO3-N) contents under bioenergy Sorghum from 2010 to 2013. Cover crop biomass and C and N contents were greater with vetch/rye mixture than rye and the control. The SOC at 5–15 and 15–30 cm was greater with vetch/rye than other treatments under forage Sorghum and at 0–5 cm and 5–15 cm was greater with vetch/rye and vetch than rye or the control under sweet Sorghum. The STN at 5–15 cm was greater with vetch/rye and the control than rye under forage Sorghum and at 0–5 and 5–15 cm was greater with vetch/rye and rye than the control under sweet Sorghum. Both SOC and STN at all depths increased linearly from 2010 to 2013, regardless of cover crops and Sorghum species. The NO3-N content at all depths varied with cover crops from 2011 to 2013. Bicultural cover crops, such as hairy vetch/rye mixture, have greater potential to sequester C and N than monocultures, such as hairy vetch and rye, or no cover crop due to greater crop residue returned to the soil under bioenergy Sorghum where aboveground biomass is harvested for bioenergy or feedstock.

Upendra M. Sainju, H. P. Singh, B. P. Singh



Chapter 17. Economics, Energy, Climate Change, and Soil Security

The Global Soil Security Symposium for which this chapter was developed was part of an effort to both improve and recognize the role of soils as they contribute to society with some speakers stating a goal of improving overall soil condition and health and the recognition of the capital value of soil. Such an effort naturally will face challenges. This chapter addresses from an economic point of view challenges that are likely to arrive from societal efforts to increase biofuels and from the ongoing and projected effects of climate change. In addition, the chapter covers some economic material regarding soil valuation in relation to management practices.

Bruce A. McCarl

Chapter 18. Understanding Soils’ Contribution to Ecosystem Services Provision to Inform Farm System Analysis

Amongst our natural resources, soils are often forgotten and poorly represented in resource management decision-making processes. Increasing global concerns about soil degradation combined with the ever-growing demands for the finite land resource demonstrate that the time is rapidly arriving when land evaluation needs to include consideration of all the ecosystem services provided to humans by a combination of land type, climate, land use and management practices. The feasibility of using an ecosystems approach to address this gap in land evaluation procedure and provide better soil security is explored here.The concepts of natural capital and ecosystem services at the heart of the ecosystems approach align very closely with the dimensions of soil security. Using an ecosystems approach to assess farm investments in either ecological infrastructure (e.g. soil conservation) or built infrastructure (e.g. irrigation) provides the basis for obtaining new insights into the impacts of those investments on the provision of services alongside environmental outcomes.An expansion of land evaluation to include multiple ecosystem services needs to include the quantification of the contribution of soils to the provision of multiple services under a specific use, considerations of natural resources use efficiency, considerations of ecological boundaries and considerations of multiple outcomes (economic, environmental, social and cultural) desired by the community.An ecosystems approach to farm investment and farm system design enables links to be made between soil capability and the ecological boundaries within which the agroecosystem needs to operate, soil condition under a use, performance in the provision of services and environmental outcomes, which allows the multifunctionality of land resources to be taken into account in decision-making.

Estelle Dominati, A. Mackay, J. Rendel

Chapter 19. The Dollars and Cents of Soil Health

Soil health is driven by a fluid and dynamic set of factors, many of which arise from above- and below-ground biodiversity and population dynamics. Unless soil depth, nutrients, water, or warmth/sunlight are dramatically limiting, plant health arises from interactions occurring at the root-soil-microorganism interface. In most cases, healthy soils make it far easier to grow healthy plants, while poor soil health makes it more difficult and costly to bring a crop to harvest. Accordingly, the ability to support healthy and profitable crop production is the core attribute of a healthy soil, and slippage in that ability is a direct consequence of declining soil health.Soil and plant health, management skill, and net farm income are almost always intrinsically linked, especially in the medium to long term. The most significant, soil-health driven economic impacts on net returns per acre typically occur where high-value specialty crops (e.g., tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, celery) are grown and can vary from several hundred to $10,000 or more per acre. In the Pacific Northwest, astute soil-health investments and management can add or subtract several hundred to $2000 or more in profits per acre per year when replanting apple orchards, and also it is critical when converting rough, never-farmed dry land to irrigated vegetable production systems. In the Midwest, success in attaining and sustaining healthy soil can increase annual profits by an estimated $75–$145 per acre.

Charles M. Benbrook

Chapter 20. The Value of Soil’s Contributions to Ecosystem Services

As a contribution to the 2015 Global Soil Security Conference, we estimated the value of ecosystem service contributions by soil. The general purpose of this estimate was to give soil a value with respect to natural capital, to compare that value to other values recognised in the global economy and to start a conversation among soil scientists and economist about the value of soil. In particular, we want to incite a conversation about the value of soil beyond that discussed using commodity prices. The simple estimate of the value ecosystem services from soil is approximately 11.4 trillion USD, which compares to the 2015 gross domestic product of the USA at 15 trillion USD. The original source used for this estimate has been updated. In general the updated values of global ecosystem service are now at 2.7 times the original, which likely increases our estimate by a similar multiplier. The concept of estimating a value for global ecosystem services is criticised by many economists. However, understanding the change in the value of soil for ecosystems services provision because of changes in soil management and use gives a valuation that is critical for policy decisions regarding soil security.

Alex B. McBratney, Cristine L. S. Morgan, Lorna E. Jarrett

Chapter 21. Economics of Land Degradation to Estimate Capital Value of Soil in Eurasia

Among the dimensions of soil security, capital occupies a special place because it depends on numerous factors that are not necessarily related to soil, such as regional economic development, current dynamics of food markets, social stability, and many others. However, the capital also depends on soil capacity and conditions that are threatened by land and soil degradation. Economics of land degradation is one of the useful approaches that help in quantifying the relation between soil and capital. We used the approach for a preliminary quantification of the impact of land degradation in Northern Eurasia (Russia and neighboring countries) on the loss of profit due to the decline in agricultural production and in ecosystem services. The approximate loss on the national level exceeds 1.9 % of annual gross domestic product, and the mean ratio of the cost of action to the cost of inaction in the country is 18 %. However, we also show that the credibility of the results is low yet due to methodological difficulties and recommend the improvement of the approach for the regional conditions.

Pavel Krasilnikov, Alexey Sorokin, Alisher Mirzabaev, Oleg Makarov, Anton Strokov, Sergey Kiselev

Chapter 22. Social Licensing to Secure Soil

The private business sector must be included in addressing global challenges to natural resource use and management as well as human health. In the context of global soil security, this chapter proposes that social licensing is an opportunity for business to capture a market of consumers that are interested in using their purchasing power to encourage sustainable resource management.

Cristine L. S. Morgan, Gaylon D. Morgan, Dianna Bagnall



Chapter 23. Soil Renaissance and the Connection to Land Managers

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation was founded in 1945 to help farmers, ranchers, and land managers in the Southern Great Plains, USA, to manage soil sustainably for agricultural production, and to promote proper land stewardship so that the land could continue to be healthy and productive for future generations. The Noble Foundation established a legacy of working with agriculturalists to achieve their production goals through sustainable, land stewardship practices. To continue this legacy, the Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation, NFP, collaborated to form the Soil Renaissance to strengthen awareness of soil’s central role in productive agricultural and natural resource systems. Success will be considered achieved when farmers, ranchers, and land managers, who are the guardians of soil, have all the resources, information, and support they need to maintain healthy soil.

Bill Buckner

Chapter 24. Links Between Soil Security and the Influence of Soil on Human Health

Soil is important to human health because of (1) food availability and quality, (2) human contact with various chemicals in soil, (3) human contact with soil organisms, and (4) disposal of wastes. The five dimensions of soil security each have ties to soils and their influence on human health. Capability is related to the ability of soils to produce adequate and high-quality food and filter waste products to provide a clean environment, particularly clean, safe water supplies. Condition influences the nutritional quality of agricultural products produced in a given soil. Capital recognizes that there is value to the services soil provides in promoting human health, costs when soil constituents are detrimental to human health, and significant value in products such as medications that come from soil. Connectivity recognizes that societal interactions with and perspectives of soil influence the value we place on soil and the management strategies we use; this in turn influences human health through capability. Connectivity also recognizes that loss of land as a public good may negatively influence human health. Codification has typically focused on soil and water conservation rather than directly on human health. However, conservation policies have led to improvements in water quality and increased soil health, leading to the production of higher-quality agricultural products in those soils. Therefore, there are significant opportunities to advance soils and human health studies and our understanding of these relationships under the soil security concept.

Eric C. Brevik, Joshua J. Steffan, Lynn C. Burgess, Artemi Cerdà

Chapter 25. Soil Contamination and Human Health: A Major Challenge for Global Soil Security

This chapter aims to demonstrate, by several illustrated examples, that human health should be considered as a major challenge of global soil security by emphasizing the fact that (a) soil contamination is a worldwide issue; estimations can be done based on local contamination but the extent and content of diffuse contamination is largely unknown; (b) although soil is able to store, filter, and reduce contamination, it can also transform and make accessible soil contaminants and their metabolites, contributing then to human health impacts. The future scientific and societal challenges related to soil-human health studies and soil security dimensions are discussed based on current programs and literature review.

Florence Carré, Julien Caudeville, Roseline Bonnard, Valérie Bert, Pierre Boucard, Martine Ramel

Chapter 26. The Measurement of Soil Security in Terms of Human Health: Examples and Ideas

Soil security refers to maintenance and improvement of soil resources and is closely related to food, water, and energy security. Human health is also a major concern, and food quality and consumption thus become important issues. Accordingly, the main purpose of this research was to measure the capacity of soil to meet nutrient requirements for human health in Korea. The bases for assessment of nutrient requirement are national dietary reference intake (DRI) values, total amounts of crops and food consumed, total annual crop production, and nationwide soil fertility values. The national nutritional requirements for the total population were calculated from the DRI, and the mass of nutrients that soil can supply to plants or humans was calculated based on national average concentrations of nutrients and cultivation areas. Total production and consumption of crops and food were estimated from a national database. Results showed that the nitrogen in Korean soil can meet 32–48 % of the Korean protein demand, and soil potassium can supply about 28–69 % of Korean dietary recommendations for nutrient intake. In contrast, all of the calcium and magnesium needed by Koreans was provided by soil. The primary conclusion of this research was that soil plays an important role in providing nutrients for human health and that soil security needs to extend to soil welfare.

Sung Chul Kim, Kyung Jae Lim, Jae E. Yang

Chapter 27. The Meta Soil Model: An Integrative Multi-model Framework for Soil Security

The profound human-centric dominance in the Anthropocene has created changes in land use, biomes, climate, food networks, economies, and social communities, which in turn have impacted global resources, such as food, energy, and water, as well as the soils, that humanity and other terrestrial life-forms depend on for survival. We posit that a new integrative science is needed to support global soil security that facilitates improved soil synthesis of data, knowledge, understanding, experiences, beliefs, values, and actions related to soils considering multiple perspective dimensions, such as soil-environment, soil-politics, and soil-human. Integrative soil security – a new term we coin in this paper – is based on (i) integration of individual and collective human needs, uses, values, beliefs, and perceptions of soils coalesced with (ii) quantitative knowledge of soils derived through empirical observation and quantitative analysis as well as (iii) systems that soils are embedded in (e.g., economic, political, social, and legal systems). We propose a Meta Soil Model (MSM) that is rooted in integral theory and integral ecology as the foundation for a new integral soil security with cognizance as the key integrator. We define an MSM as an integrative, multi-model framework to assess soil security within the context of regional and global human-environmental interactions. The MSM fosters enactment for securing soils rooted in inter-, trans-, and post-(integral) disciplinary thinking and allows to diagnose integration gaps, such as the values and beliefs people hold about soils and scientist’s observations, data, maps, and models of soils, ultimately constraining global soil security.

Sabine Grunwald, Katsutoshi Mizuta, Marcos B. Ceddia, Érika F. M. Pinheiro, R. Kay Kastner Wilcox, Carla P. Gavilan, C. Wade Ross, Christopher M. Clingensmith

Chapter 28. Integrating New Perspectives to Address Global Soil Security: Ideas from Integral Ecology

Global soil security is complex, encompassing technical, socioeconomic, and political issues and people’s beliefs and values. Our thesis is that global soil security and the soil health crisis we face today are due to a lack of awareness and understanding of prominent values and benefits soils provide to sustain humanity. In this paper, we use the integral lens to explore global soil security. The integral ecology model uses four interconnected perspectives (the individual-interior, collective-interior, individual-exterior, and collective-exterior) to study wicked environmental issues. We assert that cognizance is the key integrator to bring forth awareness, knowledge, and understanding within and across the four equally important perspectives. It has profound significance for global soil security because it reveals the underlying causes that jeopardize the security of soils and identifies chasms that constrain the sustainability of soil ecosystems. Cognizance is the (i) awareness and perceptions held by individuals and people (interior perspectives), (ii) the facts, knowledge, and understanding of external phenomena (exterior perspectives), and (iii) their interactive effects (i.e., integration across all four perspectives of the integral map). Importantly, cognizance is preceding any other dimension of soil security (connection, codification, capital, condition, and capability). Reductionist approaches that are one-sided (e.g., “soil science will fix the global soil security crisis”) ignore people’s beliefs and values and are non-cognizant of interconnected perspectives are doomed for failure. Ecological awareness is composed of exterior “scientist/observer/3rd person” qualities and interior “people/subjective” qualities. To achieve global soil security, it is necessary to grow ecological awareness evoking to value, care for, and secure the natural world including soils. Recognizing the significance of global soil security is closely linked to moral values and ethical beliefs people hold relative to soils. These beliefs provide the motivation and appropriate actions needed within cultural, social, environmental, and institutional contexts to secure soils.

Sabine Grunwald, Christopher M. Clingensmith, Carla P. Gavilan, Katsutoshi Mizuta, R. Kay Kastner Wilcox, Érika F. M. Pinheiro, Marcos B. Ceddia, C. Wade Ross

Chapter 29. Applying the Meta Soil Model: The Complexities of Soil and Water Security in a Permanent Protection Area in Brazil

Soil security denotes freedom from risks of losing a specific or a group of soil functions. This case study in the permanent protection area of Sana river (PPA-Sana), Brazil, addresses the relationship between soil security and water security. It explores the soil function “the provision of clean water and its storage, as well as filtering the contamination of water ways.” The study also presents a formal way to put soil security into practice applying the meta soil model. Meta soil modeling is built on integral theory that facilitates to understand the complexity of soil, water, and other securities. The soil and water securities in the PPA-Sana are interconnected and at risk. Specifically, one of the main problems is the discharge of soil sediments in the rivers as a consequence of soil erosion. Soil erosion and compaction constrain soil and water security, and these were monitored and mapped in order to provide support for policy interventions. However, our findings suggest that producing better soil maps and more monitoring are not enough to improve soil and water security. On the contrary, awareness building, creating trust among stakeholders, and better integration among quadrants of the integral model would lead to an enhancement of soil and water security. In essence, cognizance (the sixth dimension of soil and other securities) is profoundly important to allow integration of human and biophysical system dimensions.

Marcos B. Ceddia, Sabine Grunwald, Érika F. M. Pinheiro, Katsutoshi Mizuta, Christopher M. Clingensmith, Milton Marques Fernandes

Chapter 30. Bridging the Research Management Gap to Restore Ecosystem Function and Social Resilience

Modern technology, knowledge, and organization have greatly increased agricultural productivity, but management has prioritized short-term benefits from the production of food, fiber, and fuel. By not accounting for environmental and social costs, we have compromised the integrity of global ecosystems and caused negative impacts on our social environment. For humans to live sustainably, we must prevent depletion of natural resources and protect their potential for self-replenishment. To continue receiving ecosystem goods and services, we must stop counting the consumption of natural capital as income. Regenerative agriculture could help reverse these negative trends, but a different research approach is needed to understand the impacts of regenerative management. Much component research does not translate into producing sustainable results on managed landscapes. It is important to understand how cropping and grazing management can best regenerate soil and ecosystem function, while producing long-term economic returns. To this end, a framework is outlined that combines small-scale component research and whole-systems research, working in collaboration with farmers who improve the environment and excel financially. This approach addresses questions at commercial scale, and by integrating component science into whole-system responses, it identifies emergent properties that may result in synergistic positive outcomes and avoid unintended consequences.

W. Richard Teague

Chapter 31. Engendering Connectivity to Soil Through Aesthetics

Reflecting on the isolation of most of the population from the natural environment and predominant view of soil as ‘dirt’, it is clear that the disconnect between many individuals and the soil is great. Predominantly urban habitats, socio-economic factors, use of language, cultural attitudes and some educational policies and practice all serve to reinforce a disconnection between individuals and nature. Something extraordinary is needed to recreate connection. The authors consider the nature and role of ‘care’, the relationship between care and knowledge, the role of art in promoting care, the aesthetics of soil, and the role of early childhood education in forming positive attitudes towards nature. Soil art can instil an aesthetic appreciation of soil and in some cases impact individual behavioural changes to support the lobby for soil security. Similarly, early childhood and school years’ experiences are shown to affect attitudes to nature, which may persist into adult life. It is in these years that environments and activities are needed that will enhance ‘biophilia’. Examples are given of early childhood and broader education programmes that could assist in engendering a lasting appreciation of nature and soil.

Richard J. MacEwan, Ayesha S. A. MacEwan, Alexandra R. Toland

Chapter 32. The Role of Master Gardeners in Providing Horticulture Education to Marion County, Florida, Residents

According to the Miami New Times Florida has the second fewest native residents of any state. Only 36 % of Florida’s population in 2012 are born Floridians. Newcomers to Florida often find it difficult to grow a garden in the sandy soil prevalent throughout the state. This presents an opportunity for Master Gardeners (MGs) to offer educational programs for residents to address identified needs. Among the objectives of this group are to teach residents how to build healthy soils and to explain their role in protecting the environment beginning with practices adopted in their backyard. This is achieved by using multiple venues, for instance, the extension office, garden clubs, homeowners’ associations, and public libraries, and presentation methods are utilized by MGs to teach youth and adult residents topics such as Building Healthy Soil, Composting, Vegetable Gardening, Lawn Care, and Pest Management. A year-end survey of residents participating in horticulture activities offered by the MGs showed 82 % (n-65) never took a soil test before program participation. This number declined to 25 % after the class. A total of 64 % of the respondents adopted to implement up to three gardening practices as a result of participating in horticulture programs offered by MGs and 14 % adopted four to six practices. Participation in educational activities offered by the MGs show an upward trend. For example, the Speakers’ Bureau has seen a 9 % increase in requests for educational talks between January and March 2015 compared to the same time frame in 2014. The emphasis placed on building healthy soil and the tools with which to do it are making the public more aware of the need to understand the environment as it relates to achieving productive vegetable gardens and a beautiful landscape.

Josephine Leyte-Vidal



Chapter 33. Soil-Water-Food Nexus: A Public Opinion and Policy Perspective

This chapter reports on analysis of public opinion related to the agriculture-water nexus from a small number of questions asked of well over 2000 respondents in the 2013 National Public Water Survey and uses this analysis to begin to elucidate some publicly perceived connections as reflected among the general public. Results show that people perceive that water is very important to agricultural production and that drought conditions have severe negative consequences for agriculture, although not necessarily damage to plant and animal species. When people perceive that the effects of drought on agriculture are severe, they are far more likely to support actions and public policies to conserve water.

Kent E. Portney

Chapter 34. Whose Security is Important? Communicating Environmental Risk About Soil to a Diverse Audience

Scientists who do “policy-relevant science” typically are inexperienced and unproductive at communicating to the public and policy makers, the people who ultimately make the decisions that implement or ignore the science. Recent research in the field of cognitive science shows that humans are “motivated reasoners,” who effectively filter out information incompatible with their, and their community’s, value system. Many science education efforts are only partially effective, and some may in fact increase resistance among certain target groups. Science communication is not about improving the message, it is deeply understanding what makes people tick and what doesn’t. A handful of scientists, and a few rock stars like Bono of the band U2, either have deeply considered how to communicate or are inherently endowed with skills that can reach diverse and largely incompatible audiences. “Talking about soil like a rock star” does not imply swagger or unfettered enthusiasm; it implies that the speaker has a deep understanding of ways to connect to both the heart and mind of his or her audience.

Ronald Amundson

Chapter 35. Save our Soil to Save the Planet

In 2012, the Australian Prime Minister appointed former Governor-General Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery as Australia’s first National Advocate for Soil Health. This appointment was made in recognition of the need for greater public awareness of the importance of soil and the sustainable management of soil to Australia’s continued prosperity.Healthy, well-managed soils are fundamental to human existence. Not only for the production of healthy food and fibre but also to underpin the provision of clean air, water, and a regulated climate and thereby supporting sustainable and prosperous communities. Globally, soil and water resources are at risk from degradation and loss of access, and this will increasingly impact global security and human and environmental well-being. History has many examples where severe soil degradation and loss of access to freshwater has led to destabilisation, aridification and desertification. We are also seeing modern examples of this.Resource management challenges faced in the Western world are likely to have broader implications. Without proper and coordinated action to restore and maintain soil health, our ability to feed a ten billion population by 2050 and to maintain food production in the face of climate variability will be seriously compromised. Achieving soil and water security requires urgent national and global cooperation.Australia has a strong history of on-farm innovation and world-class scientific capability with a tradition of international collaboration. This puts Australia and other nations with similar expertise, in a strong position to share knowledge about improving soil security with other countries.To save the planet, we must save the soil and every citizen must be involved.

Michael Jeffrey, Hayley Achurch

Chapter 36. Protection of the Soil Resource in the Brazilian Environmental Legislation

Brazil has been attracting great interest in international environmental discussions because of its large territory and diverse natural resource base; a large part of which is still mostly pristine. Deforestation of the Atlantic and Amazonian rain forests and massive conversion of the Cerrado by haphazard land development, especially the expansion of livestock and grain/biofuel production, have sparked widespread concern of mounting soil and water degradation and loss of biodiversity. As a response to these ensuing risks of environmental degradation, comprehensive legislation has been enacted at the federal level to protect ecosystem services, with greater emphasis in waters and biodiversity. The recent revision of the Brazilian Forestry Code (BFC) in spite of the name clearly stands out as an environmental law, an overarching legislation dealing with key aspects of terrestrial ecosystems as well as land tenure. BFC contains conservation provisions that affect both private and public-owned land, not only remaining vegetation fragments but also extending onto farmed land. The word “solo” (soil) appears 40 times in the 82 articles that comprise BFC, in most instances associated with “protection” or “sustainable use.” The soil resource has been historically treated in an off-handed manner in Brazilian legislation, but more recently some Brazilian states have advanced supplemental legislation (known as Leis do Solo – “Soil Laws”) addressing specific conservation and management issues to safeguard this key resource for future generations. There is ample opportunity for soil scientists to engage in this new legal context, a grand effort to conserve natural resources and institutionalize sustainable land use in Brazil.

Carlos Gustavo Tornquist, Tiago Broetto

Chapter 37. Creating Incentives to Improve Soil Health Through the Federal Crop Insurance Program

American farmers are increasingly relying on the subsidized Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) to manage weather-related risks. Unfortunately, the program is structured so that it does not recognize soil security and may actually be putting American soil resources at risk. The FCIP is highly subsidized; on average, 62 % of individual premium costs are paid for by the federal government. As climate change causes more extreme weather and the cost of the FCIP continues to rise, lawmakers will be forced to consider whether the US government can continue to afford the heavy subsidies offered by the FCIP without changes to the program. The FCIP is currently structured using a flawed formula that lets high-risk farmland and management off the hook and ignores soil regenerative practices that would secure the soil. What if the FCIP rewarded good stewardship practices, like cover crops, that could result in lower indemnity payments and also improve carbon sequestration, water quality, and biodiversity? NRDC proposes the development of a pilot crop insurance program offered by the FCIP in select areas of the Mississippi River Basin. The 508(h) pilot program would offer actuarially sound crop insurance discounts to producers whose appropriate use of cover crops puts them at a lower risk for crop loss.

Lara Bryant, Claire O’Connor

Chapter 38. US Farm Programs and the Impacts on National and International Soil Security

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers numerous programs that contribute toward global soil security, many of which are under the umbrella of the Farm Service Agency (FSA). This chapter explores those programs and ways in which they contribute toward National and International Soil Security. The two primary roles where FSA programs contribute are establishing minimum working land conservation requirements related to program support and conserving environmentally sensitive land. Most farms and ranches in the United States receive payments through at least one of the disaster assistance, safety net, and/or conservation programs administered through FSA, and all farms that participate in FSA farm programs and farm loan programs as well as other conservation and crop insurance programs administered by USDA are subject to conservation compliance provisions. Conservation compliance is focused on both preventing the loss of wetlands and ensuring that soil erosion is minimized through following site-specific conservation plans. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is by far FSA’s flagship program related to soil conservation with about 24 million acres nationwide. In general, in exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers voluntarily agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that improve environmental health and quality for the life of their 10–15-year contract. By targeting fragile cropland and placing these lands into protective conservation covers, CRP conserves wildlife habitat, improves water quality, and has reduced soil erosion by more than 8 billion tons and enhanced soil productivity significantly since 1986. CRP also sequesters more carbon on private lands than any other federally administered program and reduces greenhouse gases equivalent to removing 8.7 million cars from the road annually.

Katina Dove Hanson, J. Michael Schmidt

Chapter 39. Soil Security for Agricultural Productivity: The Policy Disconnect and a Promising Future

For industrial agricultural nations like Australia and the USA, securing the soil resource in order to ensure ongoing sustainable production of food and fiber is a vital issue for policy makers. The soil security framework provides a useful and holistic approach for planning of soil policy. Policy settings within national boundaries at multiple levels are a key determinant of soil security. In addition to traditional government policy, field policy established and applied by farmers to their land will have direct consequences for soil security. Examples are provided of this mechanism at work at an individual farm level and across the cropping sector in Australia. Despite the centrality of soil to agriculture, Australia suffers from a policy disconnect between soil and agriculture at the national and state government levels. This is due to the long-term treatment of soil as a natural resource management issue, rather than as a key resource and determinant of agricultural productivity. This has also led to lost opportunities for soil research to drive productivity. The USA is further ahead, having established a new soil health division in 2014. The policy gap in Australia will be closed by linking the trend for digitization of agriculture with technologies for digitally mapping and managing soil.

Andrea Koch

Chapter 40. Securitisation

This chapter provides a brief summary of the theory of securitisation as a process to frame the global existential threats. Several schools of thought are considered with particular attention given to the securitisation theory developed by the Copenhagen School, which asks the question, ‘What is a security issue?’ and how this relates to policy and politics. In doing so key concepts are identified, and a case study focusing on the water in the Ganges Basin is presented to illustrate these. Finally, the relationship of soft securitisation to the issue of global soil security is developed.

Alex B. McBratney, Lorna E. Jarrett

Chapter 41. The Place of Soil in International Government Policy

Soil degradation is an issue of global proportion, and until recently there has been very little response at the international policy level. Thankfully, this is starting to change.Since 2010, an international soil policy community has emerged. The United Nations (UN) system has begun to focus on soil as an issue for sustainable development. Global Soil Week, which is based in Berlin, is now in its third year. The Soil Carbon Initiative was established in 2010 and provides a US-Australian focus to national and international soil policy. And in 2015, it was named as the International Year of the Soil.This momentum is exceptionally important and valued. It is, however, also vulnerable to the demands of individual nations and their sustainability agendas, a rising global population and issues associated with a changing climate.This chapter charts the growing global momentum around the issue of soil degradation and advancing the soil security dialogue. Placing this within the context of Australia’s national sustainability framework offers insightful observations as to the fragility of this momentum, outlining that whilst at the national and international policy level we have made progress, there is ultimately more work to be done and considerations to be made, particularly as countries such as Australia look to intensify their agriculture production and assist with global food demands.

Robert Hill

Chapter 42. Translating Soil Science Knowledge to Public Policy

A lot of scientific knowledge is available on soils in Europe and in the world. Yet, only a fraction of this knowledge reaches policy makers and is actually used in the national and global soil policy development processes. Despite the plethora of soil data and information generated by the soil science community, only a fraction of this information is actually policy relevant. Soil information, in order to be policy relevant, needs to respond to societal needs and address issues of relevance to the general public. Too often soil data and information generated by scientists are only relevant to a very small scientific community and not of relevance to the public policy development process. The establishment of an effective science-policy interface, the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), and the results of the first comprehensive assessment of global soil resources, the Status of World’s Soil Resources report, provide the first steps toward a more effective global soil policy for protecting this limited, nonrenewable, natural resource.

Luca Montanarella

Chapter 43. Synthesis: Goals to Achieve Soil Security

To work towards achieving soil security in the next two decades, participants identified goals to secure soil so that it can contribute to solving other global issues. Specific goals for each dimension were designed to achieve the overall objective of soil security, catalyse research and practice and contribute to soil policy.Agreed goals included:1.Fifty percent of soil is used according to its capability by 2030.2.Soil condition is optimally managed according to the inherent capability in 50 % of managed soil systems by 2030.3.Increase annual capital value of soil ecosystem services by 5 % per annum by 2030 and commercial land values based on full economic value of soil capability and condition, by 2020.4.Ninety percent awareness and understanding of soil security amongst the general public by 2030.5.Fifty percent of national governments recognise soil security in their laws and regulations by 2025.It was agreed that we should work towards making soil security a recognised sustainable development goal in its own right.

Cristine L. S. Morgan, Alex B. McBratney, Damien J. Field, Andrea Koch, Johan Bouma, Florence Carré


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