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Soil Quality Management - Concepts and Terms

Schjønning, P.; Elmholt, S. and Christensen, B.T. (2004) Soil Quality Management - Concepts and Terms. In: Schjønning, P.; Elmholt, S. and Christensen, B.T. (Eds.) Managing Soil Quality: Challenges in Modern Agriculture. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK, chapter 1, pp. 1-16.

[thumbnail of A4659_Schjonning_Chap01.pdf] PDF - English


The industrialization of agriculture and the concurrent increase in societal concerns on environmental protection and food quality have put focus on agricultural management and its impact on soil quality. Soil quality involves the ability of the soil to maintain an appropriate productivity, while simultaneously reducing the effect on the environment and contributing to human health. This development has changed society’s expectations to science and there is an urgent need to improve the communication among researchers from different scientific disciplines. The interaction of scientists with decision-makers is a topic of utmost relevance for future developments in agriculture. Reflexive objectivity denotes the exercise of raising one’s consciousness of the cognitive context, i.e. societal priorities and the values and goals of the researcher. The term sustainability comprehends the priorities in the cognitive context and thus constitutes a valuable tool for expressing the basis of scientific work. Soil quality evaluations should include awareness of the stability of any given quality attribute to disturbance and stress. This implies addressing resistance and resilience of the soil functions and/or the physical form in question. Most existing literature on soil quality focuses on assessment of soil quality rather than the management tools available to influence soil quality. Identification of management thresholds rather than soil quality indicator thresholds is suggested as an important means of implementing the soil quality concept. The major challenges facing modern agriculture include proper nutrient cycling, maintained functions and diversity of soil, protection of an appropriate physical form, and avoidance of chemical contamination. It is suggested that these challenges and problems as related to the soil quality concept are discussed in the framework expounded above.

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:soil quality, indicators, society, sustainability, resistance, resilience
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > I. 7 (ROMAPAC) Soil quality in organic farming
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Deposited By: Schjønning, Senior Soil Scientist Per
ID Code:1470
Deposited On:07 Oct 2003
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:28
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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