Cropping Systems

  • Humberto Blanco-Canqui
  • Rattan Lal


A cropping system refers to the type and sequence of crops grown and practices used for growing them. It encompasses all cropping sequences practiced over space and time based on the available technologies of crop production (Table 7.1). Cropping systems have been traditionally structured to maximize crop yields. Now, there is a strong need to design cropping systems which take into consideration the emerging social, economical, and ecological or environmental concerns. Conserving soil and water and maintaining long-term soil productivity depend largely on the management of cropping systems, which influence the magnitude of soil erosion and soil organic matter dynamics. While highly degraded lands may require the land conversion to non-agricultural systems (e.g., forest, perennial grass) for their restoration, prudently chosen and properly managed cropping systems can maintain or even improve soil productivity and restore moderately degraded lands by improving soil resilience. Crop diversification is an important option in sustainable agricultural systems (Table 7.1).


Soil Erosion Crop Rotation Cover Crop Perennial Grass Conventional Farming 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Humberto Blanco-Canqui
    • 1
  • Rattan Lal
    • 1
  1. 1.Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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