Skip to main content

Soil Health


Soil is critical to many of the natural processes that keep people and the planet healthy. Soil health, or soil quality, characterizes how well a soil is able to function and is determined by a soil's chemical, physical, and biological properties. Our research has focused on:

  • Manufactured and blended soil health measures
  • Evaluation and identification of soil physical properties related to soil structure, water infiltration and holding capacity, and plant available water
  • Farmer management practices and their impact on soil physical properties and soil health
Selected Publications

Basta et al., 2016. Restoring Ecosystem Function in Degraded Urban Soil Using Biosolids, Biosolids Blend, and Compost. Journal of Environment Quality. 45:74.

Obrycki JF, Basta NT, Culman SW. 2017. Management Options for Contaminated Urban Soils to Reduce Public Exposure and Maintain Soil Health. Journal of Environment Quality. 46:420.

A complete list of our publications is provided in the Publications page.

"For farmers, scientists and policy makers, one question has yet to be completely unearthed: What are the most effective measurements of soil health?"                                                       -Soil Health Institute

Current Projects 

Our lab is currently participating in the Soil Health Institute's North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements Scientists from 125 long-term agricultural research sites across the United States, Canada, and Mexico will analyze 31 different soil health measures. The purpose of this project is to determine the best indicators of soil health in varying production systems, climates, and soil types.


The first 8 soil samples arrived in February 2019. Over the next several months we expect to receive and analyze approximately 2,000 samples for chemical and physical properties!

The first soil samples for the Soil Health Institute's North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements have just arrived