|Lemunyon, Jerrell - USDA-NRCS|
Submitted to: Sixth Edition of Forages, Volume II The Science of Grassland Agriculture
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2004
Publication Date: December 1, 2006
Citation: Karlen, D.L., Lemunyon, J.L., Singer, J.W. 2006. Forages for Conservation and Improved Soil Quality. In: Barnes, R.F., Nelson, C.J., Moore, K.J., Collins, M., editors. Sixth Edition of Forages, Volume II The Science of Grassland Agriculture. Ames, IA: Blackwell Publishing, Inc. p-149-166. Technical Abstract: Forages are often the most cost-effective tools for reducing soil erosion and for conserving or stabilizing soil resources. This chapter reviews the various roles that forages can have in promoting conservation and maintaining or improving soil quality. Well-managed forages can protect and improve soil and water quality by mitigating wind and water erosion, compaction, leaching, runoff, and salinization. They can also be used as sinks for excess plant nutrients, heavy metals, or some toxic substances; to provide wildlife habitat; and to improve aesthetics. Historically, soils formed under grasslands were among the most productive in the world and are considered to have high soil quality because of their physical (structure), chemical (fertility), and biological (micro- and meso-fauna) attributes. Within this book chapter, the authors try to encourage policymakers and others to develop programs and innovative uses for forages that will help encourage land owners to increase their production of these materials, thereby enhancing multiple soil, water, air, and wildlife indicators of sustainable agriculture.