Can soil improving cropping systems reduce the loss of soil biodiversity within agricultural soils?

Crotty, Felicity, Hannula, Silja Emilia, Hallama, Moritz and Kandeler, Ellen (2022) Can soil improving cropping systems reduce the loss of soil biodiversity within agricultural soils? In: Sustainable soil management as a key to preserving soil biodiversity and stopping its degradation. IUSS.

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Soil biodiversity, including abundance and function of species living in the soils are important aspects of soil health, and acknowledges that soil is a living ecosystem. The decline of soil biodiversity can lead to a simplification of the soil food web and the inter-relationships as a result of poor soil management. The impact of agricultural management has been shown to reduce diversity, with damaging consequences for nutrient cycling, soil structure and potentially crop yields. However, research is often siloed and the effect of soil biodiversity on crop yields is overlooked by soil ecologists focusing on other ecosystem services; and the role of soil biodiversity on maintaining soil quality and improving crop yields is missed by agronomy researchers. Introducing specific soil improving cropping systems (SICS) have previously been considered as a method to combat soil threats (such as soil erosion or compaction) but have been overlooked as a method of reducing soil biodiversity losses within agriculture. As soil biodiversity loss is interlinked with these other soil threats, SICS will also potentially reduce the impact of them. Here, we review the range of SICS that can be utilised to reduce the threat of soil biodiversity loss, evaluating the effect of SICS on biodiversity across a wide range of organismal groups and consider the impact this will have on the sustainability of agricultural management. There are examples of measures and practices that combine high crop yields with the promotion of soil biodiversity. Selecting specific cropping systems designed to maintain or increase soil biodiversity (e.g., cover crops), promoting the stabilisation of the soil environment (minimum tillage), reducing chemical amendments (targeted spraying and biocontrol), or increasing biological amendments (adding organic matter) are all potential SICS that can be utilised.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Permission granted by Dr Laura Bertha Reyes Sanchez, President of IUSS for deposit by email. 15/9/2022
Divisions: Agriculture, Food and Environment
Depositing User: Doctor Felicity Crotty
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2022 13:36
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2022 13:36

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