State of the art

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The recording and assessment of the diversity of soil organisms, more specifically soil invertebrates, has made great progress in recent years, for example at the European level within the EU FP7 project “EcoFinders” (Griffiths et al., 2016).

This has highlighted the major impact of these organisms in providing soil ecological functions (e.g., maintaining soil structure or nutrient cycling). It should be emphasized that not only “key species” (e.g., the deep-digging earthworm species Lumbricus terrestris), but also the interaction of many, often inconspicuous invertebrate species (together with microorganisms not worked on in this project) are responsible for these functions (Creamer et al., 2016). In Germany, knowledge about soil organisms has also increased significantly in recent years primarily thanks to scientific studies (e.g., (Römbke et al., 2012)).