Soil management

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  • For much of history, few things have mattered more to humans than their relations with soil. This is evidenced by a rich historical literature on aspects of soil management and soil fertility, dating back to texts of ancient civilizations of the Middle East, the Mediterranean, China, and India (see McNeill and Winiwarter 2004).

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  • Soils are aggregates of mineral particles, and together with air and/or water in the void spaces, they form three-phase systems. A large portion of the earth’s surface is covered by soils, and they are widely used as construction and foundation materials. Soil mechanics is the branch of engineering that deals with the engineering properties of soils and their behavior under stress.

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  • Soil erosion is a hazard traditionally associated with agriculture in tropical and semi-arid areas and is important for its long-term effects on soil productivity and sustainable agriculture. It is, however, a problem of wider significance occurring additionally on land devoted to forestry, transport and recreation. Erosion also leads to environmental damage through sedimentation, pollution and increased flooding. The costs associated with the movement and deposition of sediment in the landscape frequently outweigh those arising from the long-term loss of soil in eroding fields.

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  • The idea for this book arose during the planning phases of an International Conference in Edmonton, Canada in July 2004 entitled “The Science of Changing Climates — Impacts on Agriculture, Forestry and Wetlands.” The conference was organized jointly by the Canadian Societies of Animal Science, Plant Science and Soil Science with support from Natural Resources Canada/Canadian Forest Service because they saw climate change as one of the most serious environmental problems facing the world....

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  • During the past two centuries, scientists, farmers, and agricultural educators have tended to alternate their views of soil organic matter (SOM) between the extremes of great appreciation and low esteem. As an early 20th century bulletin explained, organic matter was “once extolled as the essential soil ingredient, the bright particular star in the firmament of the plant grower…” before it “…fell like Lucifer…” as a result of the findings of 19th century agricultural chemists that most of the plant structure (C, that is) originated in the atmosphere (Hills et al., 1908)....

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  • This volume is an update of the book, Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis, first published in 1993. The aims of this second edition remain the same as those of the earlier edition—to provide a compilation of soil analytical and sampling methods that are commonly used, straightforward, and relatively easy to use. The materials and procedures for these methods are presented with sufficient detail and information, along with key references, to characterize the potential and limitation of each method....

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  • The Ramsar Convention defined the wise use of peatlands as “their sustainable use for the benefit of mankind in a way compatible with the maintenance of the natural properties of the ecosystem.” Land sustainability relates to definite periods and land uses.

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  • Why do some contaminants remain in soils indefinitely? How much of a threat do they pose to human health or the environment? The need for effective and economic site decontamination arises daily. Geoenvironmental Engineering: Contaminated Soils, Pollutant Fate, and Mitigation discusses why soils remain contaminated, focusing on the development of the factors, properties, characteristics, and parameters of soils and individual contaminants.

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  • Soil fertility describes soil nutrient status and the factors controlling the supply of nutrients to plants. Continued efforts to improve soil fertility are required to support the world's growing demand for food, fiber, and renewable fuels. Important ecological services provided by soils, such as biodiversity, buffering capacity, and nutrient recycling benefit from the amendments applied to sustain soil fertility. Those amendments need to be applied in a manner that is both economical and practical for the producer to achieve agronomic objectives that are environmentally sound.

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  • The Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment is a vitally important scientific publication and an equally important contribution to global public policy. The Encyclopedia brings together a remarkable range of cutting-edge scientific knowledge on all aspects of soil science, as well as the links of soils and soil science to environmental management, food production, biodiversity, climate change, and many other areas of significant concern.

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  • The treatment of contaminated land to eliminate or reduce the presence of pollutants in the contaminated site has received (and will continue to receive) considerable attention from the practicing profession. Extensive research and development are still underway in respect to the delivery of more effective (and economic) means for site decontamination.

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  • Despite the tremendous progress that has been achieved in water pollution, almost 40% of the U.S. waters that have been assessed by states do not meet water quality goals. About 20,000 water bodies are impacted by siltation, nutrients, bacteria, oxygen depletion substances, metals, habitat alterations, pesticides, and toxic organic chemicals. With pollution from point sources being dramatically reduced, nonpoint source pollution is the major cause of most water that does not meet water quality goals.

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  • Climate change and land management According to the Government Chief Scientist, Professor Sir David King and to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), climate change is the biggest threat to our environment, with significant impacts across the globe. The UK is committed to the Kyoto protocol and to building an international consensus for cutting emissions and limiting the effects of climate change.

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  • The book deals with several aspects of soil erosion, focusing on its connection with the agricultural world. Chapters' topics are various, ranging from irrigation practices to soil nutrient, land use changes or tillage methodologies. The book is subdivided into fourteen chapters, sorted in four sections, grouping different facets of the topic: introductive case studies, erosion management in vineyards, soil erosion issue in dry environments, and erosion control practices.

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  • Soil erosion affects a large part of the Earth surface, and it represents one of the most relevant environmental problems worldwide. Intense land degradation processes that destroyed civilizations in the past are still going on at present. Accelerated soil erosion is one of the main soil threats, as the natural balance between soil formation and loss may be seriously compromised, leading to desertification and permanent loss of fertility and protective function. Soil erosion is not only related to agricultural activities and farming practices, but also to land management in general....

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  • In response to increasing concerns about degradation of natural resources and the sustainability of agricultural production potentials in many poor regions of the world, many national and international organisations have initiated research and development programmes for natural resource management (NRM).

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  • “Be it deep or shallow, red or black, sand or clay, the soil is the link between the rock core of the earth and the living things on its surface. It is the foothold for the plants we grow. Therein lays the main reason for our interest in soils.” --- Roy W. Simonson, USDA Yearbook of Agriculture, 1957. The British naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) was probably the first scientist to examine a soil profile and suggest factors responsible for the structure of the various layers.

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  • Soil loss for erosion is a natural phenomenon in soil dynamics, influenced by climate, soil intrinsic properties, and morphology, that can both trigger and enhance the process. Anthropic activities, like inappropriate agricultural practices, deforestation, overgrazing, forest fires and construction activities, may exert a remarkable impact on erosion processes or, on the other hand, contribute to soil erosion mitigation through a sustainable management of natural resources.

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  • The prevailing low food production in sub-Saharan Africa is an issue of great concern especially since Africa south of the Sahara is the only remaining region of the world where per capita food production has remained stagnant. This chapter reviews long-term experiments in Africa in the context of shifting paradigms related to tropical soil fertility management from fi rst external input paradigm right through to the current Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) approach, which is a culmination of the participatory methods developed along the paradigm shift.

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  • With the vast and ever increasing demands made upon materials which are the products of cultivated fields, for food, for apparel, for furnishings and for cordage, better soil management must grow more important as populations multiply.

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