Submitted to: Vadose Zone Journal
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/12/2004
Publication Date: 5/13/2005
Citation: Busscher, W.J. 2005. Book review of 'Soil Tillage in Agroecosystems' by A. El Titi. Vadose Zone Journal 4(2):442.
Technical Abstract: The book covers soil tillage for agricultural management in temperate regions. The authors argue that tillage or lack thereof is central to most management systems and thus to sustainability. They discuss positive aspects of reduced or conservation tillage which for most management systems does not mean a reduction in productivity. Reduced tillage and no tillage are appropriate topics to revisit at times of concern for rising fuel costs and need for sequestration of soil organic carbon. The book has 12 chapters that use current research from internationally known researchers and focuses on various aspects of tillage and its effects on soil physical, biological, and chemical properties. Chapters 1 to 4 cover general areas of soil management and their associated changes due to tillage. The chapters have some areas of overlap but little to no repetition. Chapters 5 to 11 discuss the responses of various field flora and fauna to different tillage management practices. Chapter 12 provides a synthesis of the book by the editor. It evaluates "tillage effects with a view to long-term ecosystem stability, soil fertility, and functioning" with positive recommendations for no-tillage or non-inversion tillage for most management systems when compared to more conventional systems. Though the book does not have any significant discussion of erosion or movement of soil caused by tillage, it is very broad in its coverage of topics with extensive literature reviews for most chapters.