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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: The issue of soil health is gaining widespread attention because it promotes agricultural practices that are good for not only the farmer, but also the environment and food security. Soil is a living ecosystem that is home to billions of microbes that help animals, plants and humans cycle carbon and mineral nutrients to sustain life. Soil health indicators that can assess the performance of these complex biological systems are needed. In response to this knowledge gap, we chose sets of physical, chemical and biological indicators from the literature to be evaluated. Our organic systems experiment was established to evaluate the short- and long-term effects of different organic cropping systems on nutrient management, soil health indicators and ecosystem structure and function. The selected data in this review focused on intensive, organic vegetable crop production systems typical of experienced fresh market growers.

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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