Soil biodiversity is increasingly recognized as providing benefits to human health because it can suppress disease-causing soil organisms and provide clean air, water and food. Poor land-management practices and environmental change are, however, affecting belowground communities globally, and the resulting declines in soil biodiversity reduce and impair these benefits. Importantly, current research indicates that soil biodiversity can be maintained and partially restored if managed sustainably. Promoting the ecological complexity and robustness of soil biodiversity through improved management practices represents an underutilized resource with the ability to improve human health.
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We appreciate the encouragement of J. Lehmann to write this article, and acknowledge the comments of B. Adams, L. Duncan, A. Franco, T. Fraser, M. Knox, K. Pintauro, A. Shaw, A. Weller and S. Vandewoude. D.H.W. acknowledges the Winslow Foundation.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Wall, D., Nielsen, U. & Six, J. Soil biodiversity and human health. Nature 528, 69–76 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature15744
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