IMPROVING SOILS AND THEIR MANAGEMENT FOR MORE EFFICIENT WATER USE IN ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research
Title: An overview of soil and water conservation for the southeastern US
Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 2008
Publication Date: July 26, 2008
Citation: Busscher, W.J., Schomberg, H.H., Raper, R.L. 2008. An overview of soil and water conservation for the southeastern US [Abstract]. 2008 Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference, July 26-30, Tucson, Arizona. p. 97.
Soil: Both the Indians and early European American settlers of the southeastern US used techniques that permitted the land to be rested as it rotated in and out of production. But agricultural intensities increased; more lands were cleared and cropped continuously. As a result, the once-fertile sloping lands of the Piedmont quickly eroded and still suffer the consequences with poor productivity, limited flexibility, and stringent management requirements. Stringent management is also required by Coastal Plain soils that suffer from compaction, poor fertility, and low water holding capacities. To solve these problems, researchers and producers developed management practices of non-inversion tillage that increased organic carbon to improve soils. However, they now face new challenges of rapidly increasing fuel/tillage costs and a need for fuel cellulose that should be used to maintain soil quality. The new challenges point to the need for research to develop new production and soil quality systems.
Water: The Southeast is blessed with abundant rainfall. And water, once thought to be unlimited, is being fought over in the courts. In the face of ecological, political, and hydrological restrictions, improved water storage/supplies need to be developed to serve irrigation, industry, and an increasing southeastern population.