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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349356

Research Project: Utilization of the G x E x M Framework to Develop Climate Adaptation Strategies for Temperate Agricultural Systems

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: Why is Soil Organic Matter so Important?

item Hatfield, Jerry
item WACHA, KENNETH - Orise Fellow
item DOLD, CHRISTIAN - Orise Fellow

Submitted to: Crops and Soils
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2018
Publication Date: 4/1/2018
Citation: Hatfield, J.L., Wacha, K., Dold, C. 2018. Why is Soil Organic Matter so Important? Crops and Soils. 55(2):4-55.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Without organic matter in the soil, the functions of soil we need to sustain life would not be possible. However, we need to begin to understand that managing our soils to preserve and enhance soil organic matter is critical to being able to increase the functionality of soils. The positive benefits of soil organic matter encompass a range of soil properties; however, the driving force is soil biological activity and the management of the soil microclimate to provide the functional needs for these living organisms. The effect of the increased biological activity on stability of the soil aggregates affects all of the other positive benefits in terms of increasing infiltration of water and exchange of soil gases. Managing our soils to increase and maintain soil biological activity is the foundation of enhancing our soils and increasing their capacity to produce crops.