Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2003
Publication Date: 3/1/2004
Citation: Locke, M.A., Zablotowicz, R.M. 2004. Pesticides in Soil: Benefits and Limitations to Soil Health. In: Schjonning, P., Elmholt, S., Christensen, B.T., editors. Managing Soil Quality: Challenges in Modern Agriculture. CAB International. pp. 239-260. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Pesticides are important components of many agricultural management systems and their effects on soil and its ability to process them should be included when evaluating soil quality. Pesticides help maintain agricultural productivity by controlling pests, however, management thresholds must be established to minimize potential non-target effects on soil biota and processes. In this chapter, we review (1) selected examples of pesticide effects on soil biology and ecosystem function; (2) methodologies to assess these effects; and (3) conservation management options that may improve the capability of soils to process herbicides. Soil biota typically are resilient to pesticides applied at recommended rates, with only transient disruptions. Conservation management practices that increase soil organic matter and promote accumulation of plant residues on the soil surface help the soil process many pesticides through sorption and degradation. Our review provides information needed to begin comprehensive, coordinated initiatives to establish testing criteria for assessing pesticide impact on soil quality.