Soils and Landscape Restoration - Chapter 14: Socioecological soil restoration in urban cultural landscapes

Elsevier, Soils and Landscape Restoration, 2021.
Byrne, L.

Soil is the foundational brown infrastructure of urbanized landscapes that supports diverse social-ecological goals. However, many aspects of urbanization degrade soils in ways that reduce a landscape’s abilities to provide ecosystem services. How can urban soils be improved to provide more and better ecosystem services and thus improve the well-being of urban residents? A holistic approach to urban soil restoration seeks to improve urban soils using integrated socioecological and landscape-scale approaches that embrace diverse outcomes including novel ecosystems and many sociocultural goals. To achieve successful urban soil restoration, research has shown that methods such as decompaction, organic matter addition, manufacturing soils (e.g., for green roofs and street trees), and managing biodiversity can improve the quality of urban soils and their ecosystem services. Because urban soils exist in cultural landscapes, successfully restoring them requires considering many sociocultural variables that impact their histories and the motivations and limitations for restoring them. The future of urban soil restoration will be enhanced by transdisciplinary research and practices, in which restorationists collaborate with diverse stakeholders in urban planning, and education efforts that emphasize the value of urban soils for social-ecological sustainability.