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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Historical Overview of Soil Quality

Authors
item Karlen, Douglas
item Andrews, Susan

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 9, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The soil quality concept has developed as a comprehensive term that emphasizes the need to examine both inherent and dynamic physical, chemical, and biological properties and processes, as well as the tradeoffs among multiple uses. The concept was first suggested in 1977 with regard to the need to consider multiple land uses, even in intensive agriculture. Throughout the 1990s the concept received substantial attention especially by soil microbiologists, ecologists, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and sustainable agriculture organizations. Much more remains to be done, especially with regard to its application to soil remediation and other non-crop production uses. This discussion emphasizes that assessment of soil quality is not an end in itself, but rather a process that is intended to lead to a better public awareness of soil resources and, through that knowledge, to more sustainable land use decisions. Examples of how the concept is being applied in North America, Europe, New Zealand and other countries will be provided. Our goals are to provide the historical foundation for this symposia and through the ensuring discussion to demonstrate that the SSSA ad hoc committee definition of soil quality is an effective focus for our professional society.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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