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Managing Soil Health for Sustainable Agriculture (Vol.I and Vol. II)

There has been growing concern that both intensive agriculture in the developed world and rapid expansion of crop cultivation in developing countries is damaging the health of soils which are the foundation of farming. At the same time we are discovering much more about how complex soils are as living biological systems. This volume reviews the latest research on soil monitoring and management.

Volume 1: Fundamentals (Burleigh Dodds Series in Agricultural Science, Band 48) starts by reviewing soil classification, sampling and ways of monitoring soil dynamics.

Volume 2: Monitoring and management (Burleigh Dodds Series in Agricultural Science, Band 49) surveys key techniques for managing soil, from irrigation and fertiliser use to crop rotations, intercropping and cover crops.

The final part of the book discusses ways of supporting smallholders in maintaining soil health in regions such as Africa, Asia and South America.

Table of contents

Part 1 Soil monitoring
1.Soil health assessment and inventory: Indices and databases: Brian K. Slater, Ohio State University, USA;
2.Soil sampling for soil health assessment: Skye Wills, Stephen Roecker and Candiss Williams, USA-NRCS, USA; and Brian Murphy, Office of Environment and Heritage, Australia;
3.Biological indicators of soil health in organic cultivation : A. Fortuna, Washington State University, USA; A. Bhowmik, Pennsylvania State University, USA; and A. Bary and C. Cogger, Washington State University, USA;
4.The impact of heavy metal contamination on soil health: Santanu Bakshi and Chumki Banik, Iowa State University, USA; and Zhenli He, University of Florida, USA;
5.Modelling soil organic matter dynamics as a soil health indicator: Eleanor E. Campbell, University of New Hampshire, USA; John L. Field and Keith Paustian, Colorado State University, USA;

Part 2 Managing soil health

6.Drainage requirements to maintain soil health: Jeffrey Strock, University of Minnesota, USA;
7.Managing irrigation for soil health in arid and semi-arid regions: Jeffrey Peter Mitchell and Howard Ferris, University of California-Davis, USA; Anil Shrestha, California State University-Fresno, USA; Francis Larney, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada; and Garrison Sposito, University of California-Berkeley, USA;
8.Effects of crop rotations and intercropping on soil health; Gilbert C. Sigua, USDA-ARS, USA;
9.Use of cover crops to promote soil health: Robert L. Myers, USDA – SARE and University of Missouri, USA;
10.Optimising fertiliser use to maintain soil health: Bijay-Singh, Punjab Agricultural University, India;
11.Manure and compost management to maintain soil health: Francis J. Larney, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada;
12.Pesticide use and biodiversity in soils: Robert J. Kremer, University of Missouri, USA;
13.Conservation grass hedges and soil health parameters; Humberto Blanco-Canqui, University of Nebraska, USA;
14.Managing soil health in organic cultivation: A. Fortuna, Washington State University, USA; A. Bhowmik, Pennsylvania State University, USA; and A. Bary and C. Cogger, Washington State University, USA;

Part 3 Regional strategies in the developing world
15.Supporting smallholders in maintaining soil health: key challenges and strategies: David Güereña, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Nepal;
16.Maintaining soil health in Africa: A. O. Ogunkunle, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and V. O. Chude, National Program for Food Security, Nigeria;
17.Organic amendments to improve soil health and crop productivity: a case study in China: Minggang Xu, Wenju Zhang and Zejiang Cai, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China; Shaoming Huang, Henan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China; and Ping Zhu, Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China;
18.Soil health assessment and maintenance in Central and South-Central Brazil: Ieda C. Mendes, EMBRAPA Cerrados, Brazil; Cássio A. Tormena, State University of Maringá, Brazil; Maurício R. Cherubin, University of São Paulo, Brazil; and Douglas L. Karlen, USDA-ARS, USA;

19.Maintaining soil health in dryland areas: Pandi Zdruli, Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes (CIHEAM), Italy; and Claudio Zucca, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Morocco;

Drylands cover 40% of the global terrestrial space and are home for 2 billion people, often the most vulnerable. Land use is dominated by rangelands and much less by croplands, while barren areas with sparse vegetation mixed with rock outcrops are widespread. In spite of their hostile nature, drylands host 50% of global livestock and 30% of all present grown crops originate from them. This chapter addresses critical research issues needed to maintain soil health in the drylands, including nutrient cycling, preservation of soil biota, carbon sequestration, erosion control, rainwater harvesting and irrigation efficiency. The chapter examines the options for improving dryland soil health and provides a case study from Egypt, as well as looking ahead to future trends in this area and suggesting detailed further reading on the topic.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Formation and properties of dryland soil
  • Soil health in the drylands
  • Dryland soil research priorities
  • Options and solutions for dryland soil health improvement
  • Case study
  • Future trends
  • Conclusion
  • Where to look for further information
  • References

You can explore the different chapters here

managing soil health for  sust agri