Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #247367

Title: Sustainable land use and agricultural soil

item DURAN ZUAZO, VICTOR - Instituto De Investigacion Y Formacion Agraria Y Pesquera
item RODRIGUEZ PLEGUEZUEL, CARMEN - Instituto De Investigacion Y Formacion Agraria Y Pesquera
item Flanagan, Dennis
item TEJERO, I - Instituto De Investigacion Y Formacion Agraria Y Pesquera
item MURIEL FERNANDEZ, J - Instituto De Investigacion Y Formacion Agraria Y Pesquera

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/22/2010
Publication Date: 2/1/2011
Citation: Duran Zuazo, V.H., Rodriguez Pleguezuel, C.R., Flanagan, D.C., Tejero, I.G., Muriel Fernandez, J.L. 2011. Sustainable land use and agricultural soil. In: Lichtfouse, E. editor. Alternative Farming Systems, Biotechnology, Drought Stress and Ecological Fertilisation, Sustainable Agriculture Reviews. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 6:107-192. DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-0186-1_2.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Sustainable land use is the management of the natural environment and the built environment to conserve the resources that help to sustain the current human population of the area and that of future generations. This concept of sustainable land use requires an analysis of the existing resources, their location, features, and sensitivity to development, as well as viable developmental processes and the potential collateral effects in order to avoid resource depletion. Where natural resources exist, exploitation needs to be adjusted to carrying capacity— that is, it must be determined to what degree the environment is capable of absorbing the impact of the development. As soil is the foundation for nearly all land uses, soil quality stands as a key indicator of sustainable land use. By definition, soil quality reflects the capacity to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and promote plant as well as animal health. By reflecting the basic functioning capacity of the soil, it is the measure of many potential uses. On the other hand, management policy will have to adapt agriculture to climate change by encouraging flexibility in land use, crop production, farming systems, etc.. In doing so, it is necessary to consider the multifunctional role of agriculture and to strike a versatile balance between economic, environmental, and social functions in different regions and sectors. Also, attention needs to be paid to all issues concerning agricultural strategies in order to mitigate climate change through a reduction in emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, by increasing carbon sequestration in agricultural soils and mediating the growing of energy crops to substitute for fossil fuels. Thus, sustainable land use in agricultural systems involves the implementation of agricultural practices at the landscape level instead of at a field level. This review discusses some of the fundamental tasks and examines why sustainable land-use practices and innovations need to be adopted, providing a perspective of close collaboration among scientists, land managers, and policymakers.