Call for Papers: Special Issue on “Soil biodiversity at the basis of ecological intensification for sustainable agriculture”

Plant and Soil is seeking submissions for a Special Issue on ‘Soil biodiversity at the basis of ecological intensification for sustainable agriculture’ guest edited by Amandine Erktan1,2, Jean Trap1, Eric Blanchart1, Mirjam Pulleman3,4 (1Eco&Sols, Univ Montpellier, IRD, INRAE, CIRAD, Institut Agro, Montpellier, France, 2 J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073, Göttingen, Germany, 3Wageningen University, the Netherlands, 4International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia)

Submissions close on 31 October 2022.

Agriculture currently faces several challenges, including the need to (i) increase crop production to respond to the rising demand for agricultural products, (ii) manage sustainably agroecosystems and natural resources, (iii) increase crop productivity to limit further land conversion from forest and natural ecosystems into cropland, (iv) reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change, and v) make agricultural systems more resilient to climate change. To meet these challenges, soil ecological intensification is a promising solution based on the management of ecosystem services provided by organisms that make a direct or indirect contribution to agricultural production and other ecosystem services, and reduce its environmental footprint. Soil organisms and their diversity have a particular role in this matter. They regulate soil functions that are essential for sustainable crop production, notably carbon transformation, nutrient cycling, the formation and maintenance of the soil structure, water and contaminant regulation, and disease suppression. However, to develop a science-based ecological intensification, we need to understand how different farming practices influence the relationships between soil biodiversity and soil functioning, and the consequences for sustainable crop production.

In this special issue, we aim to gather studies that contribute to the mechanistic understanding of how soil biodiversity influences soil functions that are necessary for sustainable and intensified crop productivity.

In particular, we welcome studies on:

  • soil microorganisms (symbiotic or not, notably within the rhizosphere),
  • microfauna (protists, nematodes),
  • mesofauna (Collembolan, mites), and
  • macrofauna (earthworms, etc.)

Preference would be given to studies focusing on studies run at the community level and considering (trophic or non-trophic, e.g. ecosystem engineers) interactions between organisms. Lab (micro-, mesocosms), field, and modelling approaches are welcome. Particular attention will be given to on-farm studies run in partnership with farmers, but still reaching a mechanistic understanding of the soil system. Overall, we welcome interdisciplinary studies that merge agronomy with several aspects of soil functioning, such as soil or root ecology, soil biochemistry and soil physics.

Important Submission Information

To submit a manuscript for this special issue, authors should follow the steps below:

  1. Authors submit their paper through the following website
  2. In the “Select an Article Type” step, authors must select ‘Special Issue S99 – Ecological Intensification’ from the dropdown menu.
  3. In the “Enter Comments” step, authors must type the following comment in the box: “This manuscript is intended for the Special Issue S99 – Ecological Intensification”. Other comments related to the manuscript may be added after the aforementioned paragraph.

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact the Editor in Chief Hans Lambers ( or Managing Editor Lieve Bultynck (