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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Expert Committee "Monitoring of soil biodiversity and its functions"

The Expert Committee "Monitoring of soil biodiversity and its functions" advises the Principal Expert Committee of the Monitoring Centre on soil biodiversity. It develops a basic concept that contains the foundations for a nationwide soil biodiversity monitoring. In addition, initial recommendations are given for specific basic monitoring modules that can be implemented nationwide in short to medium term.


Soils secure the human food base, regulate the climate through their carbon storage, clean water, enable material cycles and provide habitat for various organisms. The functionality of soils is largely realized through the activity of soil organisms. Today, soils are changing due to intensive use, increasing sealing of surfaces, land use conversions, pollution, and climate change. As a result, their structural and chemical-physical quality is greatly threatened and therefore the functions of the soil as well.

The goal of a nationwide, standardized monitoring of soil organisms and functions is to document the state and changes of soil biodiversity and its dynamics. The data should provide the basis to:

  • research the causes of changes
  • derive measures to conserve biodiversity-related soil functions and services
  • verify the success of conservation measures

Objectives and Tasks

The Expert Committee "Monitoring of soil biodiversity and its functions":

  • Advises the Principal Expert Committee on the topic of soil biodiversity
  • Develops a proposal for a basic concept for future nationwide soil biodiversity monitoring as part of the principal concept "Advancement of nationwide biodiversity monitoring"
  • Establishes the foundations for a comprehensive conceptualization of soil biodiversity monitoring

Soil biodiversity, as defined by the Expert Committee…

…refers to the structural and functional diversity of organisms, species, and populations that either spend their entire or part of their life cycle in the soil or have the soil surface as their essential habitat. It encompasses the genetic variation within organisms and their communities, along with their ecological relationships and processes at the scale of soil microhabitats up to landscapes. (based on the definition of the FAO, 2020).

Current activities and topics

A position paper has been created with the following main themes:

  • The importance of soil, soil biodiversity, and the need for monitoring
  • Overview of existing nationwide programs
  • Definition of tasks for the expert committee

List of Members

Current overview of the members of the Expert Committee „Improving the availability of data on drivers of biodiversity”. The links lead to the profiles of the individuals in their respective institutions, if available.
Name Institution 
Federal Authorities  

Dr. Frank Glante

Federal Environment Agency (UBA)

Dr. Christina Lachmann

National Monitoring Centre for Biodiversity (NMZB)

Judith Lenzen

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

Dr. Moritz Nabel Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)
Dr. Silvia Pieper Federal Environment Agency (UBA)
Dr. Lina Weiß National Monitoring Centre for Biodiversity (NMZB)
State Authorities


Dr. Heinrich Höper State Agency for Mining, Energy and Geology (LBEG)
Dr. Heike Puhlmann Forest Research Institute Baden-Württemberg (FVA BW)
Roswitha Walter Bavarian State Institute for Agriculture (LfL)
Research and Education  
Prof. Dr. François Buscot

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

Prof. Dr. Nico Eisenhauer

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)

Dr. Erik Grüneberg

Thünen Institute of Forest Ecosystems

Dr. Lukas Beule    

Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)

Dr. Bernd Hommel

Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)

Dr. David Russell

Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz

Prof. Dr. Stefan Scheu University of Göttingen
Prof. Dr. Christoph Tebbe

Thünen Institute of Biodiversity

Prof. Dr. Martina Roß-Nickoll

RWTH Aachen University

Monitoring Practice  
Dr. Anneke Beylich

IFAB Institute for Applied Soil Biology

Dr. Andreas Toschki

Gaiac Research Institut

Contact at the Monitoring Centre

Helen Ballasus
Head of Expert Committee „Monitoring of soil biodiversity and its functions“
+49 341 30977-223
Dr. Lina Weiß
Head of expert committee on drivers and deputy head of expert committee on soil biodiversity
+49 341 30977-236
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