Simon Tresch


Research interests

Doctoral thesis: Impacts of management strategies on soil quality indicators and below ground diversity in urban gardens of Zurich.

This thesis is part of the interdisciplinary research project “Strategies for Better Gardens: Integrated Analysis of Soil Quality, Biodiversity and Social Value of Urban Gardens” (www.bettergardens.ch). Which is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation in the frame of the Sinergia program.

Four research groups, two from the Swiss Federal Research Institute (WSL) and two from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) are collaborating closely to analyse the economy, sociology, above ground biodiversity and soil quality in urban gardens. I’m interested in how below ground diversity, often simultaneously referred to soil quality or soil health, is changing with human disturbance like intensive agriculture or the use of pesticides.

Latter, I think it is really important to know how ecosystem services like decomposition and nutrient cycling are impacted in a changing environment and which key factors or thresholds needs to be considered to maintain sustainable food practices.

Main topics

  • Functional diversity of soil fauna, especially from earthworms and springtails
  • Decomposition of organic matter as a key process of ecosystem services
  • Below ground diversity and its link to above ground diversity
  • Ecosystem services and their link to multiple ecological and social functions
  • Urban ecology and urban agriculture
  • TBI (tea bag index) as a global tool for indication decomposition of plant material
  • Microbial activity measured by means of PLFA, DNA or substrate consumption rates.


Tresch, S., Frey, D., Le Bayon, R. C., Zanetta, A., Rasche, F., Fliessbach, A., & Moretti, M. (2019). Litter decomposition driven by soil fauna, plant diversity and soil management in urban gardens. Science of the Total Environment, 658, 1614-1629. 

Tresch, S., Moretti, M., Le Bayon, R. C., Mäder, P., Zanetta, A., Frey, D., & Fliessbach, A. (2018). A Gardener's Influence on Urban Soil Quality. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 6, 1-17.  

Tresch, S., Moretti, M., Le Bayon, R. C., Mäder, P., Zanetta, A., Frey, D., Stehle, B. ., Kuhn, A., Munyangabe, A. ., & Fliessbach, A. (2018). Urban Soil Quality Assessment—A Comprehensive Case Study Dataset of Urban Garden Soils. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 6(136), 1-5.  

Simon Tresch