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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349124

Research Project: Management Practices for Long Term Productivity of Great Plains Agriculture

Location: Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research

Title: Integrated soil health management: A framework for soil health, conservation and regeneration

item Manter, Daniel
item Delgado, Jorge
item MOORE-KUCERA, JENNIFER - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)

Submitted to: Managing Soil Health for Sustainable Agriculture, Volume 2
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2018
Publication Date: 8/6/2018
Citation: Manter, D.K., Delgado, J.A., Moore-Kucera, J. 2018. Integrated soil health management: A framework for soil health, conservation and regeneration. In: Reicosky, D. Managing Soil Health for Sustainable Agriculture, Volume 2. Sawston, Cambridge: Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited. p.69-87.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil degradation threatens global food production and security, clean water and air, and animal and human health. Different forms and rates of degradation occur and can be categorized into three types of degradation - chemical, physical, and biological – each of which does not exists individually but is the product of multiple interactions and feedback loops. Chemical deterioration primarily involves loss of nutrients and/or soil organic matter (SOM), salinization, acidification, pollution, and eutrophication. Physical deterioration includes loss of soil, nutrients, and SOM from wind and water erosion, compaction, sealing, crusting, water logging, loss of rooting depth. Biological deterioration is likely the least understood but critical to overall soil function and crop productivity and involves the loss of biodiversity, keystone taxa or consortia, and an overall reduction in efficient biological processes. Soil microbes play a direct role in driving multiple soil chemical and physical processes important for overall ecosystem function, but also have direct and indirect effects on plant productivity and quality. As a result, we suggest that soil conservation and regeneration should focus not only erosion and soil loss but also on the status of the soil biological community, its function, and overall soil health.