Renewed interest in soil stability in terms of resistance and resilience seems to have been sparked by two processes, the development of studies concerned with climatic or environmental change and the continuing exploration of the relationship between biological diversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF relationship). As changes in environment become more extreme, the stability of soil processes in general and crop productivity specifically is an increasingly practical issue. This is linked with the BEF relationship by models, and now experimental data, indicating that more diverse systems are more resistant and resilient to perturbation. As background to this we explore the stability of soil microbial populations and processes to disturbances, including the responses of already disturbed soil. The mechanisms of microbial tolerance and adaptation; the role of soil properties and the interactions in ecological networks that contribute to that stability will then be evaluated.