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Biological indicators of soil health in organic cultivation

Code: 9781786764058
A. Fortuna, Washington State University, USA; A. Bhowmik, Pennsylvania State University, USA; and A. Bary and C. Cogger, Washington State University, USA

Chapter synopsis: This chapter reviews the range of physical, chemical and biological indicators of soil health and how they can be used in practice, in this case focussing on measuring soil health in organic vegetable cultivation and, in particular, the effects of adding organic amendments to soil. Measures include soil organic carbon (SOC), carbon (C) pools and biologically active carbon. The chapter also reviews use of biological indicators such as the use of functional gene copies of bacterial nitrifiers to measure the effects of amendments on soil biological health. The chapter identifies the need to develop standard protocols that simplify techniques, rendering them accessible, reproducible and economical for routine soil analyses.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2017.0033.19
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Metrics of soil health 3 Using biological indicators 4 Conclusions and future trends 5 Acknowledgements 6 Where to look for further information 7 References

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