Conceptual framework underpinning management of soil health - supporting site-specific delivery of sustainable agro-ecosystems

EA Stockdale, BS Griffiths, PR Hargreaves, A Bhogal, FV Crotty, CA Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The need for sustainable intensification of agricultural production has ushered in a growing awareness of soil health and a requirement to identify with some certainty how changes to land management will affect soil. From an agricultural perspective the active management of soil health needs to balance the production of a healthy and profitable crop with environmental protection and improvement. However, the extreme spatial and temporal heterogeneity of soils, and the complexity of biological, physical and chemical interactions therein, makes predicting management effects on soil health challenging. Although the general principles underlying effects on soil health are well understood, they still need interpretation in a local context and the inclusion of site-specific details. Approaches from landscape ecology provide a potential framework to integrate consideration of the structural (pools, patterns), dynamic and functional (processes, flows) aspects of the soil system. These approaches allow the crucial transition from a ‘descriptive and general’ understanding towards a ‘detailed and site-specific’ prediction to be made. Using this conceptual framework, we have taken knowledge of the effects of fixed site factors (soil type and climatic zone), cropping systems and farm management practices on a range of soil physical, chemical and biological parameters for UK lowland agricultural systems, and have developed a predictive framework that shows semi-quantitatively the effects of typical management choices on soil health and crop yield.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00158
Number of pages18
JournalFood and Energy Security
Volume8
Issue number2
Early online date14 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - May 2019

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conceptual framework
ecosystem
soil
health
landscape ecology
farming system
crop yield
agricultural production
land management
soil type
cropping practice
management practice
environmental protection
farm
crop
effect
prediction

Keywords

  • Farming systems
  • Land management
  • Soil ecology
  • Soil quality

Cite this

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title = "Conceptual framework underpinning management of soil health - supporting site-specific delivery of sustainable agro-ecosystems",
abstract = "The need for sustainable intensification of agricultural production has ushered in a growing awareness of soil health and a requirement to identify with some certainty how changes to land management will affect soil. From an agricultural perspective the active management of soil health needs to balance the production of a healthy and profitable crop with environmental protection and improvement. However, the extreme spatial and temporal heterogeneity of soils, and the complexity of biological, physical and chemical interactions therein, makes predicting management effects on soil health challenging. Although the general principles underlying effects on soil health are well understood, they still need interpretation in a local context and the inclusion of site-specific details. Approaches from landscape ecology provide a potential framework to integrate consideration of the structural (pools, patterns), dynamic and functional (processes, flows) aspects of the soil system. These approaches allow the crucial transition from a ‘descriptive and general’ understanding towards a ‘detailed and site-specific’ prediction to be made. Using this conceptual framework, we have taken knowledge of the effects of fixed site factors (soil type and climatic zone), cropping systems and farm management practices on a range of soil physical, chemical and biological parameters for UK lowland agricultural systems, and have developed a predictive framework that shows semi-quantitatively the effects of typical management choices on soil health and crop yield.",
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Conceptual framework underpinning management of soil health - supporting site-specific delivery of sustainable agro-ecosystems. / Stockdale, EA; Griffiths, BS; Hargreaves, PR; Bhogal, A; Crotty, FV; Watson, CA.

In: Food and Energy Security, Vol. 8, No. 2, e00158, 05.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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