Type: Book

Instant Insights: Soil erosion


Professor Jane Rickson has over 30 years’ experience of research, consultancy and teaching in soil and water engineering, specialising in soil degradation processes and sustainable land management. Her work has focused on better understanding of soil functions and their role in the delivery of ecosystems goods and services, including water regulation, agricultural production and carbon storage. Professor Rickson is a Fellow and current President of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers, a Chartered Environmentalist, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists.



Publication date:

24 May 2022

Length of book:

166 pages

ISBN-13: 9781801464048

Paperback - £37.99
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This collection features four peer-reviewed literature reviews on soil erosion in agriculture.

The first chapter identifies different types of soil degradation, focussing primarily on soil erosion by water. The chapter explores the impact of soil erosion processes on soil properties that relate directly to crop growth, including soil depth, water-holding capacity, carbon content and nutrient reserves.

The second chapter reviews advances in techniques used to assess and measure soil erodibility by water, such as computer aided tomography. The chapter considers the role of static and dynamic soil properties in the erosion process, as well as the challenges that have developed as a result of climate change.

The third chapter assesses the impact of heavy metal contamination on soil and its consequent role in the degradation of soil health. The chapter describes the sources, impacts, indicators and remediation of heavy metal contamination, as well as the development of improved soil management practices, including effective pollution control strategies.

The final chapter discusses the implementation of integrated strategies under Conservation Agriculture (CA) farming systems to restore soil productivity in degraded agricultural lands in tropical and subtropical regions in Brazil. The chapter additionally considers the adoption of CA as a tool to prevent and reverse instances of soil degradation.

Table of contents

Chapter 1 - Mechanisms of soil erosion/degradation: Jane Rickson, Cranfield University, UK; 1 Introduction 2 Soil erosion processes: overview and erosion by water 3 Soil erosion processes: other mechanisms 4 Consequences of soil erosion 5 Relating soil erosion to crop productivity and sustainable agriculture 6 Mitigating soil erosion: soil conservation 7 Summary and conclusions 8 Where to look for further information 9 References
Chapter 2 The impact of heavy metal contamination on soil health: Santanu Bakshi and Chumki Banik, Iowa State University, USA; and Zhenli He, University of Florida, USA; 1 Introduction 2 Current levels of soil contamination by heavy metals 3 Natural and anthropogenic sources of heavy metals 4 Chemical transformation of heavy metals in soils 5 Bioavailability of heavy metals in soils 6 Effects of heavy metals on soil health: soil chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology 7 Effects of heavy metals on plant health and crop production 8 Indicators of soil contamination 9 Remediation of contaminated soil 10 Conclusions and future trends 11 References
Chapter 3 Advances in techniques to assess soil erodibility: R. J. Rickson, E. Dowdeswell Downey, G. Alegbeleye and S. E. Cooper, Cranfield University, UK; 1 Introduction 2 Factors affecting soil erodibility 3 Assessment of soil erodibility 4 Future trends in research 5 Conclusion 6 Where to look for further information 7 References
Chapter 4 Rehabilitating degraded and abandoned agricultural lands with Conservation Agriculture systems: Telmo Jorge Carneiro Amado, Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil; Carlos Alexandre Costa Crusciol, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brazil; Claudio Hideo Martins da Costa, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil; Otávio dos Anjos Leal, Catarinense Federal Institute, Brazil; and Luan Pierre Pott, Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil; 1 Introduction 2 Conservation Agriculture adoption in Brazil, mainly in Brazilian Southern region, as a tool to prevent and reverse soil degradation 3 Case study 1: Integrated strategies for restoration of compacted and low productive soils under no-tillage system in Southern Brazil 4 Case study 2: Strategies for soil quality improvement in crop-livestock integration under Conservation Agriculture in acidic tropical soils 5 Conclusion 6 Acknowledgements 7 References