Submitted to: Illinois Professional Crop Consultants & Soil Testing Association Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Public interest in soil quality and soil health are increasing throughout the world. This report summarizes several of the research and technology transfer activities that have taken place during the past five years with regard to the concepts. A central theme for both concepts is that they must examine how a soil functions with regard to complex environmental and land-use questions. To evaluate soil quality/health, assessments will be required over time, across space, and for various land-use scenarios. Physical, chemical, and biological criteria developed for these assessments must be qualitative, for immediate use by land managers, and quantitative for developing long-range, process-based strategies that will improve land-use planning, enhance plant, animal, and human health, and sustain biological diversity within natural and fabricated ecosystems. Soil and crop consultants can help promote the concepts of improved soil quality and soil health by discouraging landowners from using inappropriate tillage practices, excessive livestock grazing, uncontrolled timber harvest, or excessive manure, irrigation, fertilizer, pesticide, and municipal or industrial by-product applications. By discouraging agricultural practices that result in increased soil erosion, compaction, organic matter depletion, excessive chemical loading, acidification, or salinization, consultants can help to maintain or improve soil quality wherever they practice.