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



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.

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Correspondence to Jean Louis Morel.

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Responsible editor: Gerd Wessolek

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Morel, J.L., Chenu, C. & Lorenz, K. Ecosystem services provided by soils of urban, industrial, traffic, mining, and military areas (SUITMAs). J Soils Sediments 15, 1659–1666 (2015).

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  • Soil functions
  • Technosol
  • Urban environment
  • Urban soil groups