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An approach for assessing soil health: a practical guide for optimal ecological management

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How to integrate environmental geographic information and biodiversity data combined with management measures to effectively assess soil health is still an unresolved problem. This paper suggests an approach for systematically estimating soil quality and guiding ecological management. First, canonical correspondence analysis is used to predict the distributions of plant species or microorganism communities, principle pollutants and environmental variables from which spatial and environmental data are extracted by the geographic information system (GIS). Secondly, geostatistical methodologies are then used to estimate and quantify the spatial distribution characteristic of the species and pollutants and to create maps of spatial uncertainty and hazard assessment through ArcGis technology. Finally, redundancy analysis provides a suggestion about better management strategy and environmental factor for improving soil health and biodiversity. The combination of these methods with “3S” techniques as an assessment approach effectively meets the challenges for estimation and management in different soil environments.

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We are grateful to Dr. Jan Lepš and Petr Šmilauer’s work named “Multivariate Analysis of Ecological Data using Canoco” to give us references and enlightenment. Opinions in the paper only reflect the personal views of the authors. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40901098 and 40871085) and the special program of Water Pollution Control (2009ZX07210-006). Also the authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their remarks that have improved the paper in its present form.

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Correspondence to Yang Gao.

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Y. Wang and Y. Gao contributed equally to this work.

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Gao, Y., Wang, Y., Zhang, G. et al. An approach for assessing soil health: a practical guide for optimal ecological management. Environ Earth Sci 65, 153–159 (2012).

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