Evaluating the effect of phytomanagement with Soil Health Cards

Evaluating the effect of phytomanagement with Soil Health Cards

NEIKER is working on the development of parameters with soil health indicator potential. Within this framework, a decade ago it developed the Soil Health Cards. These are practical manuals that explain how to diagnose the state of health of different ecosystems.

To do this, the Health Cards propose a set of indicators and how to measure them correctly. They explain the meaning of each indicator and the ranges considered as “good”, “fair” and “bad”. They end with a series of final tips on how to improve poorly diagnosed soils.

The proposed parameters are always simple measurements that anyone can carry out on-site without the need for sophisticated equipment.

Therefore, you can measure thanks to these cards:

  • The abundance of earthworms and other invertebrates in a block of soil,
  • The depth to which a rod can be inserted, or
  • The time it takes for water to infiltrate a limited surface area.

Measurement of infiltration time

Although the Health Cards are mainly used in agricultural ecosystems, the Phy2SUDOE project is also testing their applicability to assess the effect of phytomanagement on degraded soils.

Specifically, NEIKER carries out biannual measurements (in spring and autumn) in each of the habitats created at the NS7 site in Zumabakotxa (Vitoria-Gasteiz).