The enormous diversity of soil organisms forms an important basis for agricultural production. A growing number of research results attest to the importance of soil biodiversity as well as individual groups of organisms for plant productivity, nutrient efficiency and protection from plant diseases.
Soil ecological engineering deals with the issue of how the numerous beneficial features of soil organisms can be harnessed in agricultural practice in order to optimise soil ecosystem services and support sustainable plant production.
Here, we not only search for cropping systems and individual practices that have a positive impact on soil biodiversity and the population dynamics of particularly beneficial soil organisms; we also develop and test methods for the targeted promotion and harnessing of the positive characteristics of certain groups of organisms in order to improve the sustainability and resource-efficiency of production systems. This includes inoculation trials with mycorrhizal fungi and other beneficial soil microorganisms as well as with optimised microbial communities in the greenhouse and in field trials.