Soil indicators to assess the effectiveness of restoration strategies in dryland ecosystems
Soil indicators may be used for assessing both land suitability for restoration and the effectiveness of restoration strategies in restoring ecosystem functioning and services. In this review paper, several soil indicators, which can be used to assess the effectiveness of ecological restoration strategies in dryland ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales, are discussed. The selected indicators represent the different viewpoints of pedology, ecology, hydrology, and land management. Two overall outcomes stem from the review. (i) The success of restoration projects relies on a proper understanding of their ecology, namely the relationships between soil, plants, hydrology, climate, and land management at different scales, which are particularly complex due to the heterogeneous pattern of ecosystems functioning in drylands. (ii) The selection of the most suitable soil indicators follows a clear identification of the different and sometimes competing ecosystem services that the project is aimed at restoring.