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CAB eBooks

Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Managing soil quality: challenges in modern agriculture.

Book cover for Managing soil quality: challenges in modern agriculture.


This book contains 18 chapters dealing with management oriented approach by identifying key issues in soil quality and management options to enhance the sustainability of modern agriculture. Topics covered include major plant nutrients (N, P, K), soil acidity, soil organic matter, soil microbial biomass and biodiversity, subsoil compaction, soil structure degradation, erosion, pesticides, industri...


Chapter 15 (Page no: 261)

Systems approaches for improving soil quality.

The complexity of agricultural systems and the wide array of possible management inputs require that soil quality be evaluated at individual management or single function level as well as at the agroecosystem level. A systems approach to soil quality assessment involves a synthesis of agriculture and ecology. It allows the identification and characterization of indirect and emergent properties and their effects on soil quality attributes. Emergent properties are defined as the functional interaction of system components that are not observable from those smaller units of organization characteristic of reductionist approaches. At each level of organization in an agricultural system, properties emerge that were not present at the level below. Emergent system qualities influence nutrient, energy, tertiary structure, water regulation, and biotic community dynamics and processes in soil, and thus can improve or build soil quality. The objective of this chapter is to evaluate the improvement of soil quality from an agricultural system viewpoint, using information from two agricultural systems (conservation tillage and organic farming). Specific objectives are to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of these systems with respect to their ability to build soil quality.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Soil quality management - concepts and terms. Author(s): Schjønning, P. Elmholt, S. Christensen, B. T.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 17) Soil quality, fertility and health - historical context, status and perspectives. Author(s): Karlen, D. L. Andrews, S. S. Wienhold, B. J.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 35) Soil acidity - resilience and thresholds. Author(s): Johnston, A. E.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 47) Tightening the nitrogen cycle. Author(s): Christensen, B. T.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 69) Phosphorus - surplus and deficiency. Author(s): Condron, L. M.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 85) Sustainable management of potassium. Author(s): Askegaard, M. Eriksen, J. Johnston, A. E.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 103) Developing and maintaining soil organic matter levels. Author(s): Dick, W. A. Gregorich, E. G.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 121) Microbial diversity in soil - effects on crop health. Author(s): Alabouvette, C. Backhouse, D. Steinberg, C. Donovan, N. J. Edel-Hermann, V. Burgess, L. W.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 139) Biological soil quality from biomass to biodiversity - importance and resilience to management stress and disturbance. Author(s): Brussaard, L. Kuyper, T. W. Didden, W. A. M. Goede, R. G. M. de Bloem, J.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 163) Subsoil compaction and ways to prevent it. Author(s): Akker, J. J. H. van den Schjønning, P.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 185) Management-induced soil structure degradation - organic matter depletion and tillage. Author(s): Kay, B. D. Munkholm, L. J.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 199) Soil erosion - processes, damages and countermeasures. Author(s): Govers, G. Poesen, J. Goossens, D.
Chapter: 13 (Page no: 219) Recyclable urban and industrial waste - benefits and problems in agricultural use. Author(s): Naidu, R. Megharaj, M. Owens, G.
Chapter: 14 (Page no: 239) Pesticides in soil - benefits and limitations to soil health. Author(s): Locke, M. A. Zablotowicz, R. M.
Chapter: 16 (Page no: 283) Implementing soil quality knowledge in land-use planning. Author(s): Bouma, J.
Chapter: 17 (Page no: 297) Soil quality in industrialized and developing countries - similarities and differences. Author(s): Lal, R.
Chapter: 18 (Page no: 315) Soil quality management - synthesis. Author(s): Schjønning, P. Elmholt, S. Christensen, B. T.

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Crops and Livestock Research Centre, 440 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 4N6, Canada.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2004
  • ISBN
  • 085199671X
  • Record Number
  • 20033208670