A conceptual framework for assessment and management of soil quality and health

Robin F. Harris, Douglas L. Karlen, David J. Mulla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter presents a conceptual framework within which to locate diverse field and laboratory approaches and provides a basis for their practical application to site specific assessment and management of land for integrated land use and environmental protection. It reviews the functional role of soil in terrestrial ecosystems. The chapter also reviews the need to qualify site specific soil quality and soil health indicator properties as a function of land use, landscape and climate characteristics. A plan for assessing soil quality and health and determining whether or not soil quality and health is responding to management strategy involves five basic steps. These are: identification of socio-economic constraints and goals for soil quality and health management; determination of soil quality and health indicators and site and climatic characteristics; assessment of soil quality and health using models; temporal or spatial comparisons of model output; and modification of management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods for Assessing Soil Quality
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780891189442
ISBN (Print)9780891188261
StatePublished - Oct 26 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1996 by the Soil Science Society of America, Inc.


  • Conceptual framework
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental protection
  • Management strategy
  • Soil health assessment
  • Soil health indicator data
  • Soil health management
  • Soil quality assessment
  • Soil quality indicator data
  • Soil quality management


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