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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Surface soil organic matter as an indicator of soil quality

item Franzluebbers, Alan

Submitted to: Miscellaneous Publishing Information Bulletin
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2009
Publication Date: 12/1/2009
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J. 2009. Surface soil organic matter as an indicator of soil quality. Prairie Steward, Writer 2009/10, Saskatchewan Conservation Association.

Interpretive Summary: Soil is a precious resource. Given a chance with diligent conservation practices, downtrodden soils can become productive once again. Fortunately, the clever ideas of natural resource professionals to conserve soil and water resources have become manifested in a growing revolution of forward-thinking farmers engaged in the protection and rejuvenation of soil. A scientist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Watkinsville Georgia summarized for a soil conservation community in western Canada research being conducted on conservation agricultural practices that contribute to stratified depth distribution of soil organic matter, which can be used as an indicator of soil quality. Stratification of soil organic matter with depth in agricultural systems is a characteristic more closely resembling that in natural systems - thus allowing agricultural systems to work more closely with nature rather than against her. The concentration of organic carbon near the soil surface divided by the concentration of organic carbon near the bottom of the “plow layer” can be used to calculate the stratification ratio of soil organic matter. Some examples of how stratification ratio of soil organic matter relates to other soil functions have been isolated. Stratification ratio of soil organic matter is envisioned as a way of comparing soils across different soil types, environments, and landscape conditions. This information will be valuable to the thousands of farmers throughout the Great Plains of the USA and Canada (as well as elsewhere in the USA and the world) who are interested in improving soil quality on their farms.

Technical Abstract: No abstract presented.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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