Type: Chapter

Soil and soil health: an overview

Author Mark G. Kibblewhite

formerly Cranfield University

Publication date:

06 August 2018

ID: 9781786763907

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Soil health is an urgent concern because of the need to manage soil resources better to meet food and other security imperatives. The different meanings of soil ‘quality’ and ‘health’ are explained. Soil health is defined as an integrative property of the biotic and abiotic components of the soil system that describes its performance relative to its inherent potential. Options for assessing soil health are reviewed and a commentary provided on which of these may be most useful in practical agriculture. The importance of good governance of soil health is emphasised and some insights are presented about its management.

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 Constructs of soil quality and health: utilitarian and holistic
3 The soil system and its performance
4 Soil health and its assessment
5 Practical assessment and governance of soil health
6 Conclusions
7 Where to look for further information
8 Acknowledgements
9 References