Type: Book

Improving soil health


Dr William Horwath is a Distinguished Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry and J. G. Boswell Endowed Chair in Soil Science at the University of California-Davis, USA, where he is also Faculty Director of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System undergraduate major. He is the current chair of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at the university. Professor Horwath is Editor of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Journal and is a Fellow of the SSSA. He has published widely on measuring and improving soil health and climate impacts on ecosystems.



Publication date:

11 October 2022

Length of book:

470 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786766700

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Agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. More sustainable crop production based on agroecological principles is seen as a key solution to this challenge. Understanding and improving soil health is the foundation for this approach.

Improving soil health provides a considered assessment of key management strategies to enhance the physical, chemical and biological health of soils in achieving sustainable improvements in crop yields. The book reviews the role of cultivation practices as well as organic and other soil amendments, such as biofertilizers.

By assessing the dimensions of soil health, and reviewing the wealth of evidence on how well individual techniques contribute to improving soil, the book shows how farmers can achieve sustainable improvements in both productivity and profitability.

Improving soil health will be a standard reference for researchers in soil and crop science, government and other agencies responsible for the health of agricultural soils, companies providing soil monitoring and management services and farmers wishing to further their knowledge on the latest developments in effective soil management.

What others are saying...

"The health of agricultural soils has deteriorated worldwide due to crop monoculture, over-fertilization, and the application of pesticides. The alarming status of many soils has major impacts on microbial communities and the associated food webs, affecting the health of plants, animals, and humans. Thus, the all-inclusive book Improving Soil Health by Professor William Horwath is urgently needed to provide guidelines for the amelioration of soil and ecosystem health. The authors of the various book chapters are world-renowned scientists, who have worked extensively on soil ecology and microbiology, and effects of crop diversity, cover cropping, no-till and organic amendments on soil and ecosystem health."Prof. Dr. Ir. Ariena H. C. van Bruggen, Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, USA, and formerly of Biological Farming Systems, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Table of contents

1.Soil health: towards a sustainable world: William R. Horwath, University of California-Davis, USA;

Part 1 Dimensions of soil health
2.Soil health: definitions, history, key concepts and hurdles: Michelle M. Wander, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA;
3.Understanding biological processes in soil: Regina O’Kelley and David D. Myrold, Oregon State University, USA;
4.Mycorrhizae and soil health: Muhammad Adnan and Fazli Wahid, The University of Swabi, Pakistan; Shah Fahad, The University of Haripur, Pakistan; Muhammad Arif, The University of Agriculture Peshawar, Pakistan; Songmei Shi, Yunnan Agricultural University, China; and Xinhua He, Southwest University, China, University of California-Davis, USA and University of Western Australia, Australia;

Part 2 Cultivation practices and soil health
5.Agricultural traffic management systems and soil health: Paula A. Misiewicz, Magdalena Kaczorowska-Dolowy, David R. White, Edward Dickin and Richard J. Godwin, Harper Adams University, UK;
6.Assessing the effects of no-till cultivation practices on soil health: Alison Hamm and Daniel K. Manter, USDA-ARS, USA;
7.Cover crops for soil health: Sieglinde S. Snapp, Michigan State University, USA; Carmen M. Ugarte, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; Dane W. Hunter, Southern Illinois University, USA; and Michelle M. Wander, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA;
8.Assessing the effects of crop residue retention on soil health: Hero T. Gollany, USDA-ARS, USA;

Part 3 The role of organic and other soil amendments
9.Assessing the effects of compost on soil health: Cristina Lazcano, University of California-Davis, USA; Charlotte Decock, California Polytechnic State University, USA; Connie T. F. Wong, University of California-Davis, USA; and Kamille Garcia-Brucher, California Polytechnic State University, USA;
10.Assessing the effects of using animal manure on soil health: Ashraf M. Tubeileh, California Polytechnic State University, USA; and Michael J. Goss, University of Guelph, Canada
11.Assessing the effect of biosolids on soil health: Fiona A. Nicholson, Anne Bhogal, Alison Rollett and John R. Williams, ADAS, UK;
12.Biofertilizers: assessing the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on soil health: M. J. Salomon, The Waite Research Institute and The School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, Australia; S. F. Bender, Agroscope, Switzerland; T. R. Cavagnaro, The Waite Research Institute and The School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, Australia; and M. G. A. van der Heijden, Agroscope and University of Zurich, Switzerland;
13.Biofertilizers: assessing the effects of plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) or rhizobacteria (PGPR) on soil and plant health: Elisa Zampieri, Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection, Italy; Iakovos S. Pantelides, Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus; and Raffaella Balestrini, Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection, Italy;
14.The role of liming in improving soil health: Richard C. Hayes, Jason R. Condon and Guangdi D. Li, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Australia;