UNDERSTANDING and measuring the different dimensions of soil health is key to sustaining agricultural productivity and protecting environmental sources.
With the rise in the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices, such as Conservation Agriculture which focuses primarily on improving soil health, a greater understanding of the biological, physical and chemical properties of soils is required. New research by Dr Felicity Crotty from the Royal Agricultural University, UK has assessed the viability of assessing soil health by measuring fauna.
Published in Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing's latest title - Advances in measuring soil health - the research explores the differing impacts of fauna on soil health in an array of ecosystems, focussing primarily on the use of mesofauna as a bioindicator of soil health for soils found in grasslands, agricultural fields and woodlands.
"Soil health is absolutely critical to achieving successful, sustainable agriculture," says Francis Dodds of Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. "Our new title offers readers the ability to enhance their knowledge on not only the importance of maintaining and managing soil health, but also the current practices used by practitioners to measure the biological, physical and chemical properties of their soils, which allow them to pinpoint key areas where soil health improvement is required." Chapters in Part 1 detail the measuring approaches used to measure soil biological activity, including the use of fauna, fungal and earthworm communities. Chapters in Part 2 explore the array of techniques used to measure the physical and chemical properties of agricultural soils, detailing the advancements made towards assessing soil erodibility, soil function and specified soil characteristics, such as clay and organic matter content.
Chapters in Part 3 review the role and application of measurement techniques in the management of soil health, discussing the development of soil health indicators and decision support systems (DSS) for improved crop and soil management on farm. Advances in measuring soil health has been edited by Professor Wilfred Otten, Cranfield University, UK and is the latest addition to Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing's Agricultural Science Series.