Type: Book

Managing soil health for sustainable agriculture Volume 1 Fundamentals


Dr Don Reicosky is an Emeritus Soil Scientist, formerly at the North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory, Morris, Minnesota, USA, a leading laboratory for soil and plant research at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr Reicosky has published widely on carbon management and soil quality as related to soil health, understanding and optimising soil management through conservation agriculture for more sustainable production.



Publication date:

06 August 2018

Length of book:

352 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786761880

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There has been growing concern that both intensive agriculture in the developed world and rapid expansion of crop cultivation in developing countries is damaging the health of soils which are the foundation of farming. At the same time we are discovering much more about how complex soils are as living biological systems. This volume reviews the latest research on soil science.

After an overview of the role of soil as a provider of ecosystem services and in conservation agriculture, the book reviews soil structure and chemistry as well organic matter, soil microorganisms and fauna. The second part of the book discusses soil dynamics, from water and nutrient cycles to carbon capture and erosion mechanisms.

With its distinguished editor and international team of expert authors, this will be a standard reference for soil scientists and agronomists as well as the farming community and government agencies responsible for monitoring soil health. It is accompanied by a companion volume looking at soil monitoring and management.

Key features

  • Puts soil health in the broader context of ecosystem services, conservation and climate change 
  • Summarises current research on soil structure and composition 
  • Reviews latest developments in understanding nutrient and other cycles in soil

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What others are saying...

"Managing soil health for sustainable agriculture covers virtually the entire range of soil health topics. Dr Don Reicosky, himself an internationally distinguished soil scientist, has assembled an impressive roster of chapter authors. Each is a world-class specialist in the topic of the chapter. This collection of diverse chapters by highly respected authors promises to be a most interesting read and useful reference."
Professor Ray R. Weil, University of Maryland, USA

Table of contents

Part 1 Overview
1.Soil and soil health: an overview: Mark G. Kibblewhite, Cranfield University, UK and Landcare Research, New Zealand;
2.Soil ecosystem services: an overview: Sara G. Baer, Southern Illinois University, USA; and Hannah E. Birgé, University of Nebraska, USA;
3.Soil health and climate change: a critical nexus: Promil Mehra, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Australia; Bhupinder Pal Singh, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, University of Newcastle and University of New England, Australia; Anitha Kunhikrishnan, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and University of Newcastle, Australia; Annette L. Cowie, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and University of New England, Australia; and Nanthi Bolan, University of Newcastle, Australia;
4.Integrated soil health management: a framework for soil conservation and regeneration: Daniel K. Manter and Jorge A. Delgado, USDA-ARS, USA; and Jennifer Moore-Kucera, USDA-NRCS, USA;
5.The economics of soil health: Maria Bowman , USDA-ERS, USA;

Part 2 Soil structure and composition
6.Soil texture and structure: role in soil health: Rainer Horn, Heiner Fleige and Iris Zimmermann, Institute for Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Germany;
7.Chemical composition of soils: role in soil health: Samira Daroub and Claire Friedrichsen, University of Florida, USA;
8.Soil microorganisms: role in soil health: Penny R. Hirsch, Rothamsted Research, UK;
9.The role of soil fauna in soil health and delivery of ecosystem services: George G. Brown, Elodie da Silva and Marcílio J. Thomazini, Embrapa Forestry, Brazil; Cíntia C. Niva, Embrapa Cerrados, Brazil; Thibaud Decaëns, Université de Montpellier, France; Luís F. N. Cunha, Cardiff University, UK; Herlon S. Nadolny, Wilian C. Demetrio, Alessandra Santos, Talita Ferreira, Lilianne S. Maia, Ana Caroline Conrado, Rodrigo F. Segalla and Alexandre Casadei Ferreira, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil; Amarildo Pasini, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Brazil; Marie L. C. Bartz and Klaus D. Sautter, Universidade Positivo, Brazil; Samuel W. James, Maharishi University of Management, USA; Dilmar Baretta, Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, Brazil; Zaida Inês Antoniolli, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil; Maria Jesus Iglesias Briones, Universidad de Vigo, Spain; José Paulo Sousa, University of Coimbra, Portugal; Jörg Römbke, ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH, Germany; and Patrick Lavelle, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, France;

Part 3 Soil dynamics
10.The role of soil hydrology in soil health: Melissa Miller and Henry Lin, Pennsylvania State University, USA;
11.Nutrient cycling in soils: E. A. Stockdale, Head of Farming Systems Research, NIAB, UK;
12.Plant–soil interactions: an overview: Richard W. Zobel, USDA-ARS, USA;
13.Mechanisms of soil erosion/degradation: R. J. Rickson, Cranfield University, UK;