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Soil Health and Intensification of Agroecosystems - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128053171, 9780128054017

Soil Health and Intensification of Agroecosystems

1st Edition

Editors: Mahdi Al-Kaisi Birl Lowery
Paperback ISBN: 9780128053171
eBook ISBN: 9780128054017
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 15th March 2017
Page Count: 418
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Soil Health and Intensification of Agroecosystems examines the climate, environmental, and human effects on agroecosystems and how the existing paradigms must be revised in order to establish sustainable production. The increased demand for food and fuel exerts tremendous stress on all aspects of natural resources and the environment to satisfy an ever increasing world population, which includes the use of agriculture products for energy and other uses in addition to human and animal food.

The book presents options for ecological systems that mimic the natural diversity of the ecosystem and can have significant effect as the world faces a rapidly changing and volatile climate. The book explores the introduction of sustainable agroecosystems that promote biodiversity, sustain soil health, and enhance food production as ways to help mitigate some of these adverse effects.

New agroecosystems will help define a resilient system that can potentially absorb some of the extreme shifts in climate. Changing the existing cropping system paradigm to utilize natural system attributes by promoting biodiversity within production agricultural systems, such as the integration of polycultures, will also enhance ecological resiliency and will likely increase carbon sequestration.

Key Features

  • Focuses on the intensification and integration of agroecosystem and soil resiliency by presenting suggested modifications of the current cropping system paradigm
  • Examines climate, environment, and human effects on agroecosystems
  • Explores in depth the wide range of intercalated soil and plant interactions as they influence soil sustainability and, in particular, soil quality
  • Presents options for ecological systems that mimic the natural diversity of the ecosystem and can have significant effect as the world faces a rapidly changing and volatile climate


Graduate and undergraduate students in the areas of agronomy, crop, soil and environment sciences. This book will also be an excellent resource for field agronomists, other practitioners, and crop consultants

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Fundamentals and Functions of Soil Environment

  • Abstract
  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Soil Properties and Interrelationships
  • 1.3 Soil Biological Environment
  • 1.4 Soil Chemical Environment
  • 1.5 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 2. Climate Variability Effects on Agriculture Land Use and Soil Services

  • Abstract
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Climate Variables and Temporal Trends
  • 2.3 Patterns of Agriculture Land Use
  • 2.4 Role of Soil Services in Mitigating Effects of Climate Variability
  • 2.5 Implications of Soil Health to Offset Climate Variability
  • 2.6 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 3. Soil Health Concerns Facing Dryland Agroecosystems

  • Abstract
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Soil Health in Dryland Agroecosystems
  • 3.3 Can SOC Depleted from Dryland Soils be Restored?
  • 3.4 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 4. Conservation Agriculture Systems to Mitigate Climate Variability Effects on Soil Health

  • Abstract
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Agriculture Conservation Practices in Row Cropping Systems
  • 4.3 Crop Rotation Effects on Soil Health
  • 4.4 Conservation Systems and Soil Environment Dynamics
  • 4.5 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 5. Conventional Agricultural Production Systems and Soil Functions

  • Abstract
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Conventional Agricultural Crop Production Systems
  • 5.3 Tillage Systems
  • 5.4 Crop Rotations
  • 5.5 Conventional Systems and Soil Erosion
  • 5.6 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 6. Integration of Annual and Perennial Cover Crops for Improving Soil Health

  • Abstract
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 Annual Cover Crops
  • 6.3 Perennial Cover Crops
  • 6.4 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 7. Perennial-Based Agricultural Systems and Livestock Impact on Soil and Ecological Services

  • Abstract
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Background
  • 7.3 The Impact of Livestock on Soil Properties Within a Perennial-Based System
  • 7.4 Perennial-Based Agricultural Systems and Livestock Impact on Soil and Ecological Services
  • 7.5 Management
  • 7.6 Research Needs
  • 7.7 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 8. Intensified Agroecosystems and Their Effects on Soil Biodiversity and Soil Functions

  • Abstract
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Ecosystem Services Defined
  • 8.3 Intensification of Row Crop Systems
  • 8.4 The Path Forward with Ecological Intensification
  • 8.5 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 9. Intensified Agroecosystems and Changes in Soil Carbon Dynamics

  • Abstract
  • 9.1 Introduction
  • 9.2 Examples of Sustainable Intensification
  • 9.3 Crop Rotations in Row Crops
  • 9.4 Crop Rotation Diversification and Cover Crop Impacts on Soil Carbon Dynamics
  • 9.5 Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems
  • 9.6 Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

Chapter 10. Agroecosystem Net Primary Productivity and Carbon Footprint

  • Abstract
  • 10.1 Introduction
  • 10.2 Estimating Net Primary Productivity in Agroecosystems
  • 10.3 Management Practices Effects on Net Primary Productivity
  • 10.4 Effect of Climate Factors on Cropping Systems’ Net Primary Productivity
  • 10.5 Cropping Systems’ Contribution to Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • 10.6 Linking Net Primary Productivity with Soil Carbon
  • 10.7 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 11. Nutrient Cycling and Soil Biology in Row Crop Systems under Intensive Tillage

  • Abstract
  • 11.1 Introduction
  • 11.2 Soil Characteristics of Intensive Tillage Systems
  • 11.3 Residue Decomposition
  • 11.4 Soil Carbon Under Intensive Tillage
  • 11.5 Soil Biota
  • 11.6 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 12. Row-Crop Production Practices Effects on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Abstract
  • 12.1 Introduction
  • 12.2 Nitrogen Management
  • 12.3 Conservation Management and Soil Health Implications
  • 12.4 Global Warming Potential and Sustainable Intensification
  • 12.5 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 13. Low-Input and Intensified Crop Production Systems Effects on Soil Health and Environment

  • Abstract
  • 13.1 Introduction
  • 13.2 Research Case Studies Addressing Impact of Low-Input Systems on Soil Health and Crop Yields
  • 13.3 Farm Case Studies Evaluating the Implementation of Adaptive, Low-Input Production Practices
  • 13.4 Potential for Sustainable Intensification of Production
  • 13.5 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 14. Agroforestry Practices and Soil Ecosystem Services

  • Abstract
  • 14.1 Introduction
  • 14.2 Agroforestry
  • 14.3 Soil Conservation
  • 14.4 Carbon Sequestration
  • 14.5 Nutrient Cycling, Sequestration, and Enrichment
  • 14.6 Soil Biological Services
  • 14.7 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 15. Targeted Use of Perennial Grass Biomass Crops in and Around Annual Crop Production Fields to Improve Soil Health

  • Abstract
  • 15.1 Introduction
  • 15.2 Perennial Grass Biomass Crops to Improve Soil Health
  • 15.3 Incentivizing Adoption of Perennial Grasses
  • 15.4 Integrating Perennial Grass Biomass Crops Into Landscapes
  • 15.5 Conclusions
  • References

Chapter 16. Biotechnology Impacts on Soil and Environmental Services

  • Abstract
  • 16.1 Introduction
  • 16.2 Biotechnology: Agricultural and Environmental Context
  • 16.3 Soil Health and Biotechnology
  • 16.4 Environmental Services and Biotechnology
  • 16.5 Management Practices for Soil Health and Ecosystem Services
  • 16.6 Conclusions
  • References


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© Academic Press 2017
15th March 2017
Academic Press
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About the Editors

Mahdi Al-Kaisi

Dr. Mahdi M. Al-Kaisi is a professor of Soil Physics at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA. He obtained his B.S. degree in Soil Science from the University of Baghdad, Iraq, in 1974, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Soil Physics from North Dakota State University in 1983 and 1986. Professor Al-Kaisi held positions as a Water Quality Specialist at Colorado State University, 1990-2000 and Assistant, Associate, and full Professor from 2000 to present at Iowa State University, where his research focus is in the area of applied soil physics that includes research on the effects of cropping and tillage systems, crop residue management, and nitrogen application on soil physical properties, soil carbon dynamics, greenhouse gas emissions, soil temperature, water quality, and other ecosystem services. Professor Al-Kaisi and his graduate students, along with colleagues, published research findings in a wide range of national and international journals, proceedings, and popular press. His research led to the development of extension bulletins, and online management tools such as, residue and erosion calculators and the development of a soil carbon index for soils in Iowa. He served as Associate Editor for many journals and review panels. Professor Al-Kaisi is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, USA.

Affiliations and Expertise

Iowa State University, Ames, IA, United States

Birl Lowery

Birl Lowery is an Emeritus Professor of Soil Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). He held positions ranging from Assistant Professor to Professor from 1980 to 2014 at UW-Madison, and Senior Associate Dean in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from 2010 to 2013. In 1973 he obtained a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education from Alcorn University, an M.A. degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1975 from Mississippi State University, and Ph.D. in Soil Physics in 1980 from Oregon State University. His area of research was applied soil physics, which included research on soil temperature and water regimes, erosion, compaction, contaminant flow in soil, and groundwater quality. He and his students and colleagues published their research findings extensively in a wide range of journals, proceedings, popular press, and book chapters. He has served as Associate Editor for numerous journals over his career.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, United States

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