The Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas is an effort by the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission to raise awareness about the importance of soil biodiversity. It comprises 180 pages with amazing photos, maps, charts, statistics, and shared information that scientists, educators, policy makers, and non-specialists alike can use as a toolkit for knowing and understanding soil biodiversity globally. Key messages of the Atlas are:
• Soil biodiversity is extremely diverse in shapes, colours, sizes and functions.
• Soil biodiversity supports many services essential to human beings: plant growth, water and climate regulation, and disease control, among others.
• Soil biodiversity is increasingly under threat due to several pressures acting on soils.
• Interventions to reduce the impact of threats to soil biodiversity are available and should be widely adopted.
• Policies to protect and value soil biodiversity are still at an early stage and need to be further developed.
Out of the 94 authors from across the world, four are CESAM researchers at the UA. Ana Catarina Bastos and Susana Loureiro from the applied Ecology and Ecotoxicology R&D group (applEE) in the Biology Department, contributed with expertise on environmental biotechnology, including biomonitoring and bioremediation, as provisioning services of soil biodiversity. Frank Verheijen and Jacob Keizer from the Earth Surface Processes (ESP) lab in the Department of Environment & Planning, contributed with expertise about wildfire as a threat to soil biodiversity, and fire management as a way of benefiting soil biodiversity.