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Managing soil health in organic cultivation

Code: 9781786764164
A. Fortuna, Washington State University, USA; A. Bhowmik, Pennsylvania State University, USA; and A. Bary and C. Cogger, Washington State University, USA

Chapter synopsis: Although organic standards do not refer directly to soil health, organic agriculture has the potential to improve soil health and environmental services by promoting soil conservation and reducing greenhouse gases. This chapter presents findings from a field experiment which continuously monitored the soil health of an organically managed production system from 2003 to 2014. The experiments focus on intensive organic vegetable crop production systems typical of experienced fresh market growers. The research sought to evaluate short- and long-term effects of various different management systems, including crop rotations, cover crops and animal amendments. We discuss the impact of these measures in terms of nutrient release, soil health, greenhouse gas emissions and ecosystem structure and function.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2017.0033.37
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Measuring long-term soil health in organic cultivation 3 The use of animal amendments in soil nutrition 4 The use of cover crops in soil nutrition 5 The effect of rotations, cover crops and animal amendments on carbon and nitrogen levels in soil 6 The effect of cover crops on nitrogen levels in soil 7 The effect of animal amendments on nitrogen levels in soil 8 Managing nutrient loss and retention: greenhouse gas emissions 9 Conclusions and future trends 10 Acknowledgements 11 Where to look for further information 12 References

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