Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 1659–1666 | Cite as

Ecosystem services provided by soils of urban, industrial, traffic, mining, and military areas (SUITMAs)

  • Jean Louis MorelEmail author
  • Claire Chenu
  • Klaus Lorenz
Soils and Sediments in Urban and Mining Areas



The sustainable use and management of global soils is one of the greatest challenges for the future. In the urban ecosystem, soils play an essential role with their functions and ecosystem services. However, they are still poorly taken into consideration to enhance the sustainable development of urban ecosystems. This paper proposes a categorization of soils of urbanized areas, i.e., areas strongly affected by human activities, according to their ecosystem services.

Materials and methods

Focus is put first on ecosystem services provided by non-urban soils. Then, the characteristics and number of services provided by soil groups of urbanized areas and their importance are given for each soil group.

Results and discussion

Soils of urbanized areas are here defined as SUITMAs, because they include soils of urban, sensu stricto, industrial, traffic, mining, and military areas. This definition refers to a large number of soil types of strongly anthropized areas. SUITMAs were organized in four soil groups, i.e., (1) pseudo-natural soils, (2) vegetated engineered soils, (3) dumping site soils, and (4) sealed soils. For each soil group, examples for ecosystem services were given, evaluated, and ranked.


This proposal contributes to foster the dialogue between urban spatial planning and soil scientists to improve both soil science in the city and recognition of SUITMAs regarding their role for the sustainable development of urban ecosystems and, in particular, to enhance multifunctional soils in urban areas.


Soil functions Technosol Urban environment Urban soil groups 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Louis Morel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Claire Chenu
    • 3
  • Klaus Lorenz
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Laboratoire Sols et Environnement, UMR 1120Université de LorraineVandœuvre-lès-Nancy CedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Sols et Environnement, UMR 1120INRAVandœuvre-lès-Nancy CedexFrance
  3. 3.BioemcoAgroParisTechGrignon, Thiverval GrignonFrance
  4. 4.Global Soil ForumInstitute for Advanced Sustainability StudiesPotsdamGermany
  5. 5.The Ohio State University, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental SciencesColumbusUSA

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