About this book
This book views soil as a fundamental resource that must urgently be protected, preserved and restored, in order to secure food for the ever-increasing human population and to maintain the health and quality of the Earth’s ecosystems. It emphasizes the immediate and long-lasting impacts of soil degradation on agricultural productivity (crops, livestock, and fisheries), air and water quality, health of organisms, and the planet’s life support-systems.
This book highlights the mutual relationships of terrestrial ecosystems with their physical environments, and stresses that when the soil is degraded, a concomitant deterioration takes place in the whole ecosystem. Throughout history, soil degradation has, in fact, played a crucial role in the collapse of many civilizations.
This book comprehensively describes soil degradation in terms of:
· Causes: deforestation, vegetation over-exploitation, shifting cultivation, overgrazing, unbalanced fertilizer use, over-extraction of ground water, etc.
· Processes: soil compaction, surface crusting, soil-fertility depletion, water erosion, wind erosion, salinization, soil pollution, etc.
· Conservation and Remediation Measures: soil amendments, decompaction, mulching, cover cropping, crop rotation, green manuring, contour farming, strip cropping, alley cropping, surface roughening, windbreaks, terracing, sloping agricultural land technology (SALT), dune stabilization, etc.
Numerous examples, figures and tables enhance the presentation, leading the reader from the basics to a comprehensive understanding of soil degradation, conservation and remediation. Study questions at the end of each chapter help to reinforce concepts.
While the text will be of particular interest to undergraduate students in grasping the fundamentals of soil science, it will also be of interest to graduate students and those in agricultural, biological and environmental sciences who study soil and its sustainable management. Professionals, including agronomists, horticulturists, foresters and landscape specialists, will find it of interest, as well.