Happy World Soil Day from Journal of Ecology

Soils Virtual Issue

On Friday 5 December it is World Soil Day and in celebration Journal of Ecology has published a Virtual Issue on soils http://bit.ly/1rMUXyI. The Virtual Issue has been edited by Journal of Ecology’s Richard Bardgett and Amy Austin. For more information about the VI see the below blurb, then visit the Journal homepage to see which papers have been included.

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In December 2013, the 68th United Nation’s General Assembly designated December 5th as World Soil Day to raise global awareness of the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and vital contributor to human wellbeing. To celebrate World Soil Day, and the UN’s forthcoming International Year of Soils 2015, we have compiled a Virtual Issue to highlight recent papers in Journal of Ecology with a below-ground focus.

Although there is a long history of plant ecologists exploring broad relationships between plant communities and their underlying soils, it is fair to say that plant and soil ecologists have, until recently, mostly worked in separate arenas. This, however, has changed in recent years, as plant ecologists have become increasingly aware of the importance of soil for understanding plant population and community dynamics, and the regulation of major biogeochemical processes. In addition, soil scientists have come to appreciate the important role that plants have in modulating many aspects of soil chemistry, nutrient availability and carbon and nutrient turnover. Reflecting these interests, the topic of plant-soil (below-ground) interactions is now among the most popular in the Journal, with 14% of all our published papers being under this header. This research area also has featured prominently in our recent Special Features, including Plant-Soil Feedbacks in a Changing World, Plant-Mediated Interactions Between Above- and Below-ground Communities, and Plant-Soil Interactions and the Carbon Cycle. The Journal is now firmly established as a leading venue for the publication of the most ground-breaking research on the ecological and evolutionary importance of plant-soil interactions in a changing world.

For this Virtual Issue, we have selected 20 papers recently published in Journal of Ecologythat demonstrate the breadth and international scope of soil-related research, and illustrate how ecologists are pushing our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary significance of plant-soil interactions forward. The papers cover topics such as below-ground controls on invasions, the role of soil biota in plant-plant interactions, and the influence of plant and soil community change on biogeochemical processes. We very much hope you enjoy reading these papers brought together in this collection and invite you to submit your ‘ground’ breaking research on plant-soil interactions to Journal of Ecology as a part of the celebration of the International Year of Soils.

Richard Bardgett & Amy Austin

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