Description of SES Logos
Please read more about soil ecosystem services here, and download the longer version here.
Agricultural biomass production
The different horizons and the soil profile indicate the properties of fertile soil suitable for growing a variety of crops for food: the diversity and quality of food are indicated by the grain and apple.
Forest biomass production
The logo links soil properties, aboveground forest biodiversity, and forest production – timber needed for construction, various everyday products (e.g. furniture), as well as firewood for green energy.
The drop of water lying in the middle of the soil horizons indicates the ability of soils to capture, store, and gradually release water for plants and soil biota as well as for evaporation from the soil surface.
Nutrient cycle regulation
Macro and micro plant nutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and many others) are present in soil due to the microbial fixation of nitrogen, weathering and transformation of primary minerals. Without soil’s capacity to retain, exchange, and cycle nutrients in situ, soil fertility would decrease and be significantly reduced. Nutrient regulation and cycling ensures long-term soil fertility and, thereby, the vegetation cover, consisting of wild or cultivated plants.
Soil habitat and biodiversity
The different types and thicknesses of the horizons in the soil profile indicate a physical and very special place rich in soil biota. A myriad of very different organisms live in every handful of soil. The extreme diversity of life forms in soil largely exceeds the aboveground biodiversity. The so-called soil ‘gene pool’ is a source of useful products, e.g. medicines.
Cultural and natural archives
This amphora buried in soil represents cultural artefacts and other remains of ancient civilizations. Hidden, protected, and conserved by soil, artefacts are preserved for modern civilization. The ammonite represents the natural heritage, which in the case of soils, comprises several specific, rare, and well-expressed soil morphological features. Special formations and patterns of horizons, colours, and specific horizons need protection in a similar way as geological features.
Surface runoff regulation
The three drops percolating through the soil horizons indicate how soil largely absorbs rain, snow melt, or flooding waters and therefore reduces surface runoff through infiltration. The drops to the groundwater indicate an additional benefit: groundwater recharge.
Local climate regulation (“the cooling effect”)
The logo presents evaporation from the soil surface and indicates the transpiration of plants. Both processes are joined into evapotranspiration, which cools the surface of soils and plants and thus reduces the temperature resulting the meso- and microclimate.
Global climate regulation (“the carbon cycle”)
The logo explains different soil properties – different horizons that to a large extent define the capacity to store, exchange, and cycle carbon (C). C available in the atmosphere as CO2, a greenhouse gas, cycles through plants to the topsoil, where it comprises soil organic matter – humus and soil organisms. When organic matter is mineralized by microorganisms, the C is returned back to the atmosphere.
Water filtration and purification
The indicated soil horizons have different capacitates to filter percolating precipitation and flood waters, to neutralize and degrade harmful substances, and to enrich the water with minerals. Water cleaned on its way through the soil profile becomes potable groundwater.
Recreational and spiritual services
The logo unites humans and different soil properties that determine soil potentials and land uses and largely define natural and cultural landscapes. In an important way, specific soil capacities (starting with depth, water holding capacity, fertility, etc.) define land suitability and contribute to scenic landscapes and natural beauty in relation to a variety of recreational activities, sports, and spiritual benefits.