Dynamic Soil Properties (DSPs)

Dynamic soil properties (DSPs) are soil properties that change with natural and anthropogenic disturbances and stressors including agricultural and wildland management.  DSPs are indicators of soil function and soil change over the human time scale (decades to centuries). Soil function describes what soil does, including ecosystem and agricultural services. Since soils typically develop on a geologic time scale, we generally infer soil change by comparing different conditions or management systems in a single type of soil. Tifton soil series in Early County, Georgia, in bahiagrass pasture ecological state phase.  The dynamic soil properties of this plant-soil system are responding well to its current management.

Information about how soils change due to management and how those changes impact soil functions are crucial to sustainable soil management on all kinds of lands. Current NCSS efforts are focused on gaining information about ecological state phases (including reference conditions) and common land uses and management systems; including soil health management systems. DSPs are collected along with vegetation, management system and disturbance information. Future work will include models and procedures that predict soil responses to management changes in order to help policy makers, land managers, producers, and others who make decisions that protect soil function.

For more information on measuring and interpreting soil change see Chapter 5 of The Soil Change Guide.