Soil structure and its functions in ecosystems: Phase matter & scale matter

Xinhua Peng, Rainer Horn, Paul Hallett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)


Soil structure is the spatial arrangement of a vast array of pore sizes and shapes, driven by the aggregation of soil particles through a range of processes (Letey, 1991). As soil structure
provides pathways for the transport of water, nutrients and gases, and habitats for microorganisms and fauna, it is a fundamental property of soil fertility and quality. Soil structure is composed of two contrast phases, the solid phase of particles and aggregates and the pore phase with a wide range from nanometer to centimeter or even larger in size (Fig. 1). Interacting with these phases is water, which is held in pores by capillarity forces and affects bonding between soil particles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalSoil & Tillage Research
Issue numberPart A
Early online date22 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

The workshop was partially sponsored by National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB429902) and Natural Science Foundation of China (41171180). We are grateful to Soil Tillage Research journal for making this issue happen. We also thank the authors and reviewers of these manuscripts for their hard work and patience.


  • Soil structure
  • functions
  • ecosystems


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