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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOGEOCHEMICAL PROCESSES INFLUENCING FORMATION AND STABILIZATION OF SOIL ORGANIC MATTER AND SOIL STRUCTURE Title: Soil health: The concept, its role, and strategies for monitoring

Author
item Karlen, Douglas

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Soil health is not a new concept as evidenced by writings by both Greek and Roman philosophers who were aware of the importance of soil health to agricultural prosperity. Most recently, the concept has been recognized as a tool to help evaluate the effects of various agricultural and land management practices. This book chapter reviews the concept of soil health and its relation to both soil quality and soil tilth; its role for assessing the biological, chemical and physical effects of various agricultural land management practices; and its use as an assessment tool or protocol for evaluating short and long-term effects of soil management on the health, quality and thus sustainability of soil resources. The journey to understand and monitor soil health (or quality) has just begun, but through it humankind will be better equipped to determine how well a specific soil resource is performing the critical functions that are essential to carry on and improve life as we know it on this planet.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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