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:

27 September 2022

Length of book:

400 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786766700

Hardback - £150.00
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Improving soil health is increasingly seen as the foundation for ‘climate-smart’ and more sustainable crop production based on agroecological principles.

Improving soil health provides a comprehensive coverage of recent research on the effects of different management strategies on the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils. The collection offers an assessment of the key management strategies implemented as a means for improving soil health, crop yields and ecosystem productivity, including zero tillage, intercropping, crop rotation, cover crops and organic amendments.

Edited by Professor William Horwath, University of California-Davis, USA, Improving soil health will be a standard reference tool for researchers in soil and crop science, government and other agencies monitoring the health of agricultural soils, companies providing soil monitoring and management services and farmers wishing to further their knowledge on the latest developments in soil monitoring.

Key features

  • Assesses the viability of management strategies implemented to improve soil health, e.g. intercropping and zero tillage 
  • Provides a comprehensive coverage of the dimensions of soil health 
  • Reviews the role of organic and other amendments in improving soil health

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 Horwath, University of California-Davis, USA;

Part 1 Dimensions of soil health
2.Soil health: definitions and key concepts: Michelle Wander, University of Illinois, USA;
3.Understanding biological processes in soil: David Myrold, Oregon State University, USA;
4.Understanding mycorrhizal activity as a component of soil health: Xin-Hua He, University of Western Australia, Australia;

Part 2 Cultivation practices and soil health
5.Agricultural traffic management systems and soil health: Paula Misiewicz, Harper Adams University, UK;
6.Assessing the effects of zero/no till cultivation practices on soil health: Daniel Manter, USDA-ARS, USA;
7.Assessing the effects of cover crops on soil health: Sieglinde Snapp, Michigan State University, USA;
8.Assessing the effects of crop residue retention on soil health: Hero 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;
10.Assessing the effects of using animal manure on soil health: Michael Goss, University of Guelph, Canada
11.Assessing the effect of biosolids on soil health: Fiona Nicholson, ADAS, UK;
12.Biofertilizers: assessing the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on soil health: Marcel van der Heijden, University of Zurich/Agroscope, Switzerland;
13.Biofertilizers: assessing the effects of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) on soil health: Raffaella Balestrini, Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection - Turin UOS, Italy;
14.The role of liming in improving soil health: Richard Hayes, DPI-New South Wales, Australia;