Type: Book

Managing soil health for sustainable agriculture Volume 2 Monitoring and management


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:

462 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786761927

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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 monitoring and management.

Part 1 starts by reviewing soil classification, sampling and ways of monitoring soil dynamics. Part 2 surveys key techniques for managing soil, from irrigation and fertiliser use to crop rotations, intercropping and cover crops. The final part of the book discusses ways of supporting smallholders in maintaining soil health in regions such as Africa, Asia and South America.

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 developments in soil science.

Key features

  • Discusses key methods for monitoring soil health 
  • Comprehensive review of techniques to manage soil health from no-till and conservation tillage techniques to the use of rotations, intercropping and cover crops 
  • Case studies of ways of supporting smallholders in maintaining soil health in regions such as Africa, Asia and South America.

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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 Soil monitoring
1.Soil health assessment and inventory: Indices and databases: Brian K. Slater, Ohio State University, USA;
2.Soil sampling for soil health assessment: Skye Wills, Stephen Roecker and Candiss Williams, USA-NRCS, USA; and Brian Murphy, Office of Environment and Heritage, Australia;
3.Biological indicators of soil health in organic cultivation : A. Fortuna, Washington State University, USA; A. Bhowmik, Pennsylvania State University, USA; and A. Bary and C. Cogger, Washington State University, USA;
4.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;
5.Modelling soil organic matter dynamics as a soil health indicator: Eleanor E. Campbell, University of New Hampshire, USA; John L. Field and Keith Paustian, Colorado State University, USA;

Part 2 Managing soil health
6.Drainage requirements to maintain soil health: Jeffrey Strock, University of Minnesota, USA;
7.Managing irrigation for soil health in arid and semi-arid regions: Jeffrey Peter Mitchell and Howard Ferris, University of California-Davis, USA; Anil Shrestha, California State University-Fresno, USA; Francis Larney, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada; and Garrison Sposito, University of California-Berkeley, USA;
8.Effects of crop rotations and intercropping on soil health; Gilbert C. Sigua, USDA-ARS, USA;
9.Use of cover crops to promote soil health: Robert L. Myers, USDA – SARE and University of Missouri, USA;
10.Optimising fertiliser use to maintain soil health: Bijay-Singh, Punjab Agricultural University, India;
11.Manure and compost management to maintain soil health: Francis J. Larney, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada;
12.Pesticide use and biodiversity in soils: Robert J. Kremer, University of Missouri, USA;
13.Conservation grass hedges and soil health parameters; Humberto Blanco-Canqui, University of Nebraska, USA;
14.Managing soil health in organic cultivation: A. Fortuna, Washington State University, USA; A. Bhowmik, Pennsylvania State University, USA; and A. Bary and C. Cogger, Washington State University, USA;

Part 3 Regional strategies in the developing world
15.Supporting smallholders in maintaining soil health: key challenges and strategies: David Güereña, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Nepal;
16.Maintaining soil health in Africa: A. O. Ogunkunle, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and V. O. Chude, National Program for Food Security, Nigeria;
17.Organic amendments to improve soil health and crop productivity: a case study in China: Minggang Xu, Wenju Zhang and Zejiang Cai, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China; Shaoming Huang, Henan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China; and Ping Zhu, Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China;
18.Soil health assessment and maintenance in Central and South-Central Brazil: Ieda C. Mendes, EMBRAPA Cerrados, Brazil; Cássio A. Tormena, State University of Maringá, Brazil; Maurício R. Cherubin, University of São Paulo, Brazil; and Douglas L. Karlen, USDA-ARS, USA;
19.Maintaining soil health in dryland areas: Pandi Zdruli, Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes (CIHEAM), Italy; and Claudio Zucca, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Morocco;