1.Biodiversity is an important contributor to food security and improved nutrition with biodiversity contributing in achieving food security and improved nutrition?
Soil biodiversity might provide the solution for sustainable agriculture. That means, to reduce conventional pesticides and fertilizers through application of biocontrol agents and as biofertilizers. We know, however, too little about the taxonomic and functional diversity of soil life for targeted applications. I am trying to expand this knowledge together with the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) and at the same time try to manipulate soil biodiversity for enhanced crop production. Small companies in the Netherlands have now started to also realize the potential of sustainably promote plant growth by the addition of specific, novel biofertilizers and I am collaborating with them (e.g. https://www.ecostyle.nl/groensector/protoplusr and http://www.soiltech.nl/pages/en/home.php?lang=EN)
3. As mentioned above, the GSBI provides an international framework to bridge experts on all aspects of soil biodiversity around the globe. In line, I have started the soil protist initiative (https://soilprotists.wordpress.com/) in which the aim is increase the understanding of a little, yet important group of soil life: protists. Furthermore, UniEUK (https://unieuk.org/) is another global effort to increase the (taxonomic) understanding of little known eukaryotes, which brings together the entire scientific community working on mostly single celled eukaryotes.
In Wageningen, the Center for soil ecology (https://www.soilecology.eu/) was initiated that helps linking soil scientists working on all aspects of soil biodiversity with the public and private sectors to spread the importance of soil biodiversity.
All these initiatives are key to promote soil biodiversity as we are well aware that soil biodiversity forms the base for our well-being (Bardgett and van der Putten, 2014; Wall et al., 2015; Wall and Six, 2015).
Yet, more attention, a better connection between soil biodiversity science and e.g. politics, and diverse business sectors including agriculture need to be achieved, which will help to better study soil biodiversity before some members might go extinct. This will in the end result in a mutual benefit by all partners involved.
4.Diverse steps have to be taken and these have to start from all partners. Scientists have to become more aware of ongoing problems and need to engage in outreach outside their scientific community. At the same time, governmental (or FAO) supported platforms would help to bring different parties together and start these interactions. These would be beneficial both on a national but also international level to find a common ground for more efficient methods to promote sustainable agriculture and (soil) biodiversity at the same time.
Bardgett, R.D., and van der Putten, W.H. (2014) Belowground biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Nature 515: 505-511.
Wall, D.H., and Six, J. (2015) Give soils their due. Science 347: 695.
Wall, D.H., Nielsen, U.N., and Six, J. (2015) Soil biodiversity and human health. Nature 528: 69-76.