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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Agricultural Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377505

Research Project: Ecologically-Sound Pest, Water and Soil Management Practices for Northern Great Plains Cropping Systems

Location: Agricultural Systems Research

Title: Soil health for food security and agroecosystem resilience

item RAJAN, GHIMIRE - New Mexico State University
item Sainju, Upendra
item ACHARYA, RAM - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/2/2020
Publication Date: 8/24/2020
Citation: Rajan, G., Sainju, U.M., Acharya, R.N. 2020. Soil health for food security and agroecosystem resilience. In: Rasali, D.P., Bhandari, P.N., Karki, U., Parajulee, M.N., Acharya, R.N., and Adhikari, R., editors. Principles and Practices of Food Security: Sustainable, Sufficient, and Safe Food for Healthy Living in Nepal. Lubbock, TX: Association of Nepalese Agricultural Professions of Americas. p. 230-244.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Securing food for a growing population without any negative impacts on the environment will continue to be a challenge for the 21st century. About 60 percent of the agroecosystems have either been degraded or used unsustainably to increase food, forage, fiber, and energy production for the growing population in the world. The occurrence of extreme climatic events has increased biotic and abiotic stresses to crops, affecting crop productivity, food security, and agroecosystem resiliency. Improved soil and crop management practices that enhance soil health through increased soil organic matter (SOM), nutrient cycling, microbial activity, nutrient and water use efficiency, and reduced nitrogen (N) leaching and greenhouse gas emissions while sustaining crop production and reducing chemical inputs can increase net farm profitability. Some of these practices including reduced-tillage management, crop residue recycling, crop rotations diversification, integrated nutrient management, manure and compost applications, and livestock integration in cropping systems, have the potential of enhancing agricultural production and improving soil health in the smallholder farming conditions of South Asia including Nepal. This chapter focuses on alternative soil and crop management strategies that enhance soil health and crop production in the smallholder farming conditions of Nepal and highlights the need for programs and policies to support farmers for increasing SOM sequestration through carbon-credit markets and reducing chemical use while sustaining crop yield and profitability.