Search results for: improving-soil-health

Soil Health Soil Biology Soilborne Diseases and Sustainable Agriculture

Author : Graham Stirling
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Our capacity to maintain world food production depends heavily on the thin layer of soil covering the Earth's surface. The health of this soil determines whether crops can grow successfully, whether a farm business is profitable and whether an enterprise is sustainable in the long term. Farmers are generally aware of the physical and chemical factors that limit the productivity of their soils but often do not recognise that soil microbes and the soil fauna play a major role in achieving healthy soils and healthy crops. Soil Health, Soil Biology, Soilborne Diseases and Sustainable Agriculture provides readily understandable information about the bacteria, fungi, nematodes and other soil organisms that not only harm food crops but also help them take up water and nutrients and protect them from root diseases. Complete with illustrations and practical case studies, it provides growers and their consultants with holistic solutions for building an active and diverse soil biological community capable of improving soil structure, enhancing plant nutrient uptake and suppressing root pests and pathogens. The book is written by scientists with many years' experience developing sustainable crop production practices in the grains, vegetable, sugarcane, grazing and horticultural industries. This book will be useful for: growers, consultants, agronomists and soil chemists, extension personnel working in the grains, livestock, sugarcane and horticultural industries, professionals running courses in soil health/biological farming, and students taking university courses in soil science, ecology, microbiology, plant pathology and other biological sciences.

Gendered opportunities for improving soil health A conceptual framework to help set the research agenda

Author : Zhang, Wei
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Healthy soils play a critical role in supporting agricultural productivity, climate change mitigation and resilience, and a range of ecosystem services. Degraded and poorly responsive soils cover large areas of Africa and represent the majority of poor farmers’ fields in certain regions. While there are hundreds of technical options for improving the sustainability of land management and preventing or reversing degradation, there are many sociocultural, institutional, economic, and policy barriers hindering their adoption at large scale. At the same time, there is an emerging consensus within the international development community that gender equality and women’s empowerment are both an end in themselves and an important means for achieving a range of economic and social development objectives such as improved food security, child nutrition and education, and women’s health. Yet, gender inequality remains a wicked problem, whose deep-seated socio-economic and ideological causes are difficult to recognize and address, and which require context- and culture-specific understandings and approaches, involving multiple stakeholders with different and sometimes conflicting interests and different positions within power hierarchies. There is an urgent need to make more rapid progress on restoring and sustaining soil productivity and ecosystem functions and also to leverage soil health management for progress on gender equality. While there are important interconnections between soil health and gender equality and empowerment, these are seldom recognized, and have not been addressed in a coherent or concerted manner. In this study, we have reviewed relevant gender literature and proposed a conceptual framework to help illuminate important gender considerations for soil health and land management. These considerations are essential for identifying gender-based constraints, opportunities, and unintended consequences in promoting soil management technologies. Moreover, the application of the framework can help guide in priority setting with respect to where gender-responsive interventions are essential. We make several recommendations for setting priorities for gender-soil health research.

Improving Soil Health

Author : William Horwath
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This collection summarises current research on the effects of different management strategies on the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils. It assesses the viability of these management strategies, including zero tillage and intercropping, as a means for improving crop yield, ecosystem productivity and soil health in general.

Sustaining and Improving Soil Health with Plant beneficial Bacteria

Author : Nicola Imperiali
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Thèse. Biologie. Médecine. 2018

Guidelines for Soil Quality Assessment in Conservation Planning

Author : U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Soil quality is the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries to: ? sustain plant and animal productivity ? maintain or enhance water and air quality ? support human health and habitation Soil function describes what the soil does. Soil functions are: (1) sustaining biological activity, diversity, and productivity; (2) regulating and partitioning water and solute flow; (3) filtering and buffering, degrading, immobilizing, and detoxifying organic and inorganic materials, including industrial and municipal by-products and atmospheric deposition; (4) storing and cycling nutrients and other elements within the earth

Improving Soil Health and Food Safety in Organic Specialty Crop Systems by Customized Management of Biological Soil Amendments

Author : Petrina Tanesha McKenzie-Reynolds
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Assessing Kiln Produced Hardwood Biochar for Improving Soil Health in a Temperate Climate Agricultural Soil

Author : Emily J. Cole
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Soil quality has become a major factor used in assessing sustainable land management and the overall environmental quality, food security, and economic viability of agricultural lands. Recently, biochar has been touted as having many potential uses as a soil amendment for improving soil quality, specifically improving cation exchange capacity, pH and nutrient availability. However, soil biology also plays a significant role in biogeochemical processes that influence soil health and should be included in a more comprehensive study of soil health. This dissertation describes 4 projects within the same 3-year field study with the cumulative purpose of better understanding the effect that the application of a hardwood biochar has on soil health and quality. (1) The evaluation of a hardwood lump charcoal production by-product for use as a quality biochar amendment, tested the hypothesis that this byproduct has physical and chemical properties that fall within the range of quality biochar amendments as proposed by recent literature. (2) A three-year assessment of the changes to the soil chemical and physical properties as affected by the addition of the hardwood biochar to agricultural soils. Biochar application did not significantly affect sweet corn yield or quality. (3) A three-year assessment of the yield of sweet corn grown in the same biochar amended soils with and without added nitrogen fertilization also showed that a two percent by weight application of hardwood biochar improved yields of sweet corn, but greater application rates had a negative priming effect. Thus, testing the hypothesis that biochar would improve agronomic yields. In year three of this field study, nematode community assemblages were identified and compared in both the control and highest biochar treatments. Nematode communities were significantly different with maturity indices indicating greater temporal stability in the biochar-amended soils. The bacterial diversity of the control, two percent and four percent biochar-amended field soils were assessed using high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA and taxonomic assessment. While overall community diversity was not significantly affected, the abundance of specific bacterial taxa were significantly affected, indicating the potential for shifts in biogeochemical cycling in biochar-amended soils.

Legumes for Soil Health and Sustainable Management

Author : Ram Swaroop Meena
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Sustainable management of soils is an important global issue of the 21st century. Feeding roughly 8 billion people with an environmentally sustainable production system is a major challenge, especially considering the fact that 10% of the world’s population at risk of hunger and 25% at risk of malnutrition. Accordingly, the 68th United Nations (UN) general assembly declared 2016 the “International Year of Pulses” to raise awareness and to celebrate the role of pulses in human nutrition and welfare. Likewise, the assembly declared the year 2015 as the “International Year of Soils” to promote awareness of the role of “healthy soils for a healthy life” and the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) has declared 2015-2024 as the International Decade of Soils. Including legumes in cropping systems is an important toward advancing soil sustainability, food and nutritional security without compromising soil quality or its production potential. Several textbooks and edited volumes are currently available on general soil fertility or on legumes but‚ to date‚ none have been dedicated to the study of “Legumes for Soil Health and Sustainable Management”. This is important aspect, as the soil, the epidermis of the Earth (geoderma)‚ is the major component of the terrestrial biosphere. This book explores the impacts of legumes on soil health and sustainability, structure and functioning of agro-ecosystems, agronomic productivity and food security, BNF, microbial transformation of soil N and P, plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria, biofertilizers, etc. With the advent of fertilizers, legumes have been sidelined since World War II, which has produced serious consequences for soils and the environment alike. Therefore, legume-based rational cropping/soil management practices must support environmentally and economically sustainable agroecosystems based on (sequential) rotation and intercropping considerations to restore soil health and sustainability. All chapters are amply illustrated with appropriately placed data, tables, figures, and photographs, and supported with extensive and cutting-edge references. The editors have provided a roadmap for the sustainable development of legumes for food and nutritional security and soil sustainability in agricultural systems, offering a unique resource for teachers, researchers, and policymakers, as well as undergraduate and graduate students of soil science, agronomy, ecology, and the environmental sciences.

A Farmers Guide to Evaluate Soil Health Using Physical Chemical and Biological Indicators on an Agricultural Field in Alaska

Author : Cory J. Cole
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Farmers across Alaska face many challenges. These challenges include climate extremes, wind and water erosion, weed pressure, crop pests, and nutrient-poor soils. Cover crops, crop rotation, crop residue, and tillage management are common conservation practices used to address soil related resource concerns. Research in the continental United States has shown that these soil conservation practices improve soil health. Resource managers are trying to determine the usefulness of soil health indicators to assess conservation practices in Alaska. The objective of this project was to provide Alaskan farmers, conservation planners, and land managers with a background on soil health, soil health indicators, soil health assessments, and the use of conservation practices to improve soil health. Establishing linkages between soil conservation practices and soil health indicators will allow individuals to focus conservation efforts on improving soil conditions, evaluate soil management practices and techniques over time to determine trends, make qualitative comparisons of soil health among management systems, and provide tested measures of soil health (indicators) that will allow farmers and land managers to make more informed resource decisions. Numerous studies were conducted across Alaska to gauge the success of cover cropping, crop rotation, and reduced tillage (no-till). Improvements in physical, chemical, and biological indicators were documented. After one year of study, most cover crops resulted in lower bulk density at the soil surface compared to conventional tillage. Among the cover crop treatments, the perennial forage grass Timothy (Phleum pratense var. Engmo) ranked highest in soil organic matter, soil water content, and improvement to the soil structure. Preliminary data from this project has been gathered to develop an Alaska specific Soil Health Assessment Card and supplementary User Guide.

Soils and pulses

Author : Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
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This booklet aims to introduce the reader to the importance of preserving our soil resources by attending to the reciprocal relationship between soils and pulses. The ecosystem services provided by soil are presented together with the role of pulses in improving soil health, adapting to and mitigating climate change, and ultimately contributing to food security and nutrition. The book also discusses the role of pulses in restoring degraded soils and their contribution to pursuing the practice of sustainable soil management.

Soil Science for Gardeners

Author : Robert Pavlis
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Build healthy soil and grow better plants Healthy soil means thriving plants. Yet untangling the soil food web and optimizing your soil health is beyond most gardeners, many of whom lack an in-depth knowledge of the soil ecosystem. Soil Science for Gardeners is an accessible, science-based guide to understanding soil fertility and, in particular, the rhizosphere – the thin layer of liquid and soil surrounding plant roots, so vital to plant health. Robert Pavlis, a gardener for over four decades, debunks common soil myths, explores the rhizosphere, and provides a personalized soil fertility improvement program in this three-part popular science guidebook. Coverage includes: Soil biology and chemistry and how plants and soil interact Common soil health problems, including analyzing soil's fertility and plant nutrients The creation of a personalized plan for improving your soil fertility, including setting priorities and goals in a cost-effective, realistic time frame. Creating the optimal conditions for nature to do the heavy lifting of building soil fertility Written for the home gardener, market gardener, and micro-farmer, Soil Science for Gardeners is packed with information to help you grow thriving plants.

An International Technical Workshop Investing in Sustainable Crop Intensification

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CD-ROM contains workshop presentations in PowerPoint, video, and Adobe Acrobat files.

Soil Health for Improved Food Securities

Author : Todd Elmer Lorenz
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Long-term ecological considerations of a soil's health, or the capacity of a soil to function within ecosystem boundaries in order to sustain biological productivity, maintain environmental health, and promote plant and animal health through the generations while meeting this growing population demand are needed. Soil health improves with perennial vegetation including grasses and legumes; a reduced tillage/soil disturbance; incorporation of livestock grazing and manure into the system; increased rotation diversity including cash crops and forages; and cover crops for increased soil cover and diversity of the microbial population. Utilizing all of these options for improving soil health may not be practical in every management scenario. Since 1914, Extension educators have been responsible for adult education and improving the lives and economy of citizens at the local level. Extension educators continue to provide research-based information and education to help "show me" the benefits of managing our living, breathing Missouri soils.

Bio organic Manure A Manual Guide

Author : Suleiman Usman
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Studienarbeit aus dem Jahr 2012 im Fachbereich Agrarwissenschaften, , Veranstaltung: Soil and Environment, Sprache: Deutsch, Abstract: It has been widely accepted that organic materials (plant and animal sources of organic matter) from plants and animals play important role in sustaining and improving soil structure, soil quality, soil function, soil health, soil fertility, and overall crop performance in agricultural production. Organic materials are potential important sources of micro and macro nutrients in agricultural soils environment (Hood, 2001). They affect physical, biological, chemical, and ecological processes in soil. They improve soil structural quality, soil water holding capacity, soil infiltration, soil organism biodiversity, and soil nutrient availability (FAO, 2005). The utilization of the animal and plant materials is not only an economic benefit for soil and crops but also for human being and his environment. Bio-organic Manure (BOM) is processed from some organic materials (animal or plant or combinations of all). Process of decomposition of homogeneous and heterogeneous organic materials will be rapidly undergoing some changes due to microbial functions, temperature control, and water actions. This is different from fresh organic fertilizer where natural decay process is brought about by the action of heterogeneous microbes present in the organic matter. [...]

Advances in Measuring Soil Health

Author : Wilfred Otten
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This volume begins with a review of advances in measuring soil biological activity. Parts 2 and 3 survey developments in measuring soil physical and chemical properties. The collection concludes by reviewing soil health indicators and decision support systems for improving soil management.

Microbiology for Sustainable Agriculture Soil Health and Environmental Protection

Author : Deepak Kumar Verma
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With contributions from a broad range of experts in the field, this volume, Microbiology for Sustainable Agriculture, Soil Health, and Environmental Protection, focuses on important areas of microbiology related to soil and environmental microbiology associated with agricultural importance. The information and research on soil and environmental microbiology presented here seeks to act as a gateway to sustaining and improving agriculture and environmental security. Part I focuses on soil microbiology, dealing extensively with studies on the isolation, culture, and use of Rhizobium spp. and mycorrhizae to improve soil fertility, plant growth, and yield. This includes research progress on biogeochemical cycles, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), microbial interactions in soil and other soil activities, microbial diversity in soil, biological control and bioremediation, and improvement of beneficial microorganisms (N2 fixers, phosphate solubilizers, etc.). Part 2 goes on to focus on microbiology for crop disease management and pathogenic control in sustainable environment, with chapters on disease management of agricultural and horticultural crop plants through microbial control and how microbial control may a be a potential solution for a sustainability in agriculture. Part 3, Microbiology for Soil Health and Crop Productivity Improvement, features a chapter on the activity and mechanism of nitrogenase enzyme in soil, which is very important for soil health and crop production and productivity. Part 4 presents two chapters entirely devoted to the environmental pollution and its control, looking at the interaction of microbes in aqueous environments and eco-friendly approaches. There is an urgent need to explore and investigate the current shortcomings and challenges of the current innovations and challenges in agricultural microbiology. This book helps to fill that need. This volume will be valuable to those involved with agricultural microbiology, including students, instructors, and researchers.

Improving Soil Quality on Irrigated Soils in the Columbia Basin

Author : David Granatstein
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Soil quality or health can be defined as the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to (1) sustain plant and animal productivity, (2) maintain or enhance water and air quality, and (3) support human health and habitation. Soil quality encompasses the interrelated physical, chemical, and biological aspects of soil. Irrigated growers in the Columbia Basin of Washington State have expressed increased interest in improving soil quality and in learning about the benefits versus the costs of implementing soil improvement practices. In addition, producers have been under increasing public scrutiny concerning efforts to maintain and improve soil resources, especially for off-farm impacts such as wind erosion and water quality. This publication discusses factors affecting soil management and soil improvement practices among irrigated growers in the Columbia Basin of Washington State.

The Basic Soil Problems and Possible Solutions in Agriculture

Author : Suleiman Usman
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Document from the year 2011 in the subject Agrarian Studies, University of Greenwich, language: English, abstract: It is widely recognised that environmental problems such as soil degradation (erosion and desertification) affects many agricultural lands globally. These problems have caused soil quality decline, crop yield reduction, economic crisis, poverty, unemployment, and rural urban migration. Soil management practices are considered as the most vital and sustainable possible solution to control soil erosion and desertification. This management include use of organic manure, crop rotation, use of cover crop, intercropping, planting shelter belt and afforestation, provision of water ways, good surface drainage system, restoration of rangeland, regeneration and secondary forest, and political changes.

Improving and Controlling Soil Health

Author : Hardeep Sharan Singh
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Wyoming Ranchers Profitability from Improved Forage Production on Private Rangeland

Author : Holly S. Dyer
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Soil health is the “continued capacity of a soil to function as a vital living ecosystem sustaining plants, animals, and humans” (USDA-NRCS 2017). Since the Dustbowl Era, soil has been recognized as an essential resource fundamental to sustaining all life. As such, US agriculture and public policy have focused on aligning agricultural production with maintained or improved soil health on both public and private lands. Most US research evaluates environmental and economic benefits from improved soil health on cropping systems rather than livestock operations. However, in Wyoming, roughly 85% of the land is rangeland (University of Wyoming Extension Cooperative n.d(e)); of which, about 42% is privately owned (WY Farm Bureau Federation, 2015). How Wyoming private producers manage their rangeland not only determines the operation’s profitability over time, but can also affect soil health and the provision of public ecosystem goods. This study provides a framework to evaluate benefits from improving rangeland soil health within the private sector. Using a multi-period linear programming approach, the model quantifies rancher benefits for forage production responses from various hypothetical practices implemented to improve soil health. Rancher benefits were quantified as the difference in maximum net present value of profits for various forage responses over time given typical resource limitations and cost/return parameters representative of Fremont County. As expected, results show forage response timing and initial conditions drive private benefits from practices aimed at increasing soil health. The benefits were compared to the costs of implementing a rotational grazing plan, as a potential practice aimed at improving soil health on private rangeland. Scenarios experiencing greater implementation costs than projected benefits suggest additional incentives may be necessary to promote certain practices on private rangeland.