|OBRYCKI, JOHN - Boston Children'S Hospital|
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: This chapter focuses on the benefits of soil health being evaluated through soil physical, chemical, and biological property measurements. Our objectives are to provide practical definitions and examples of various approaches for addressing soil health, along with our assessment of current analytical methods, their limitations and potential research topics that may clarify and help advance the concept.
Technical Abstract: Documenting benefits from soil health management practices and assessments has been described as both useful and futile because it requires continual observation, some form of data collection, and an assessment protocol. This chapter focuses on the benefits of soil health being evaluated through soil physical, chemical, and biological property measurements. A producer, landowner, or researcher interested in soil health usually wants to know if soil properties are changing from an identifiable condition or point of interest, such as an inherent baseline or an equilibrium condition established by business-as-usual soil and crop management practices. When soils are considered within social, political, economic, and environmental contexts, the type of benefits that can be documented expands, but although those assessment scales are important to consider, they are outside the scope of this chapter because such changes, whether positive or negative, generally take several years (perhaps even decades) to be noticeable and/or measurable. This chapter focuses on agricultural research and discusses the general opportunities and limitations associated with soil health management approaches and strategies used to document potential soil physical, chemical, and biological property changes.