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Nutrient cycling in soils

Code: 9781786764003
E. A. Stockdale, Head of Farming Systems Research, NIAB, UK

Chapter synopsis: Sustainable agricultural systems must enable profitable production of sufficient high-quality crops to meet human demands while simultaneously minimising off-site impacts. Though simple chemical equilibrium plays a part, nutrient cycling processes in soil are largely the outcome of biochemical processes resulting from the activity and interactions of a huge diversity of soil organisms. Hence soil health is central to nutrient cycling. Decomposition and cycling of C are the central processes driving almost all soil nutrient cycles. The size, diversity and activity of the soil community are affected by complex interactions between physical, chemical and plant community factors within the soil, as well as farm management practices and local climate. New research methods continue to provide increasing insight into the biological and geochemical interactions within soil nutrient cycles. But this research must be conducted in partnership with farmers and agronomists to develop effective site-specific nutrient management approaches and increase the sustainability of farming systems, whilst maintaining soil health.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2017.0033.13
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 The underlying concepts of nutrient cycling 3 Carbon (C) cycling 4 Nitrogen (N) cycling 5 Phosphorus (P) cycling 6 Other nutrient cycles – potassium (K) and micronutrients 7 Case study – approaches in integrated nutrient management 8 Conclusions 9 Future trends 10 Where to look for further information 11 References

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