Submitted to: Ecosystem Health
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Various conceptual frameworks for assessing the management impacts of soil health have been proposed but few have been tested under a wide range of soil quality indicators. An approach developed by Karlen and Andrews at the USDA National Soil Tilth Laboratory is being used to analyze and interpret data sets of soil quality indicators from two established comparisons of different soil management practices in California: the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Project in the Sacramento Valley and the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems Project in the San Joaquin Valley. The index, developed with indicator data from each project, is being compared to farmers' experience-based descriptive knowledge and to assessments of soil quality using additional analytical measurement of key soil quality indicators. The soil quality index may serve as a tool to guide soil and crop management practices, thus helping to improve soil quality while sustaining or enhancing productivity in these regions.