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European Commission | Soil biodiversity: state-of-the art and possible implementation in chemical risk assessment

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ABSTRACT - Protecting the structure and functioning of soil ecosystems is one of the central aims of current regulations of chemicals.This is, for instance, shown by the emphasis on the protection of key drivers and ecosystem services as proposed in theprotection goal options for soil organisms by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Such targets require insight intosoil biodiversity, its role in the functioning of ecosystems, and the way it responds to stress. Also required are tools andmethodologies for properly assessing biodiversity. To address these issues, the Society of Environmental Toxicology andChemistry (SETAC) Europe 14thSpecial Science Symposium (SESSS14) was held 19 to 20 November 2019 in Brussels,Belgium. The central aim of the SESSS14 was to provide information on how to include soil biodiversity and soil functions asprotection goal options in the risk assessment and quantification of the effects of chemicals and other stressors (includingtheir respective regulations). This paper is based on the presentations and discussions at the SESSS14 and will give a briefupdate on the scientific state‐of‐the art on soil biodiversity, novel scientific developments, experimental and modelingapproaches, as well as case studies. It will also discuss how these approaches could inform future risk assessment ofchemicals and other stressors in the regulatory context of protecting soil ecosystems.



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