Nutrients and pollutants accumulate over time in soils, and these processes are difficult to assess. Element balance modelling allows the early detection of undesirable developments in the soil and enables the formulation of predictions and scenarios. This modelling instrument serves in the development of preventive measures in soil protection.
The goal of modelling element balances is to analyse the causes of detected changes in the soil and to predict the outcome of adjusted measures for a sustainable soil use. Simple surface balances or more complex soil process models can be used to elucidate how agricultural management impacts the soil quality, soil function and soil risks in the long term. Complex soil process models allow analyses and predictions on regional and site-specific scales in order to examine changes in soil characteristics related to management, soil cultivation, site properties and soil properties.