World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources for a food-secure future. The date of 5 December for WSD was chosen because it corresponds with the official birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event
Soil is home to more than 1/4 of our planet's biodiversity. Yet, we only know 1% of this universe. There are more living creatures in a single teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on Earth. Soil organisms are responsible for many critical ecosystem processes on which humans depend: from supporting plant growth, to storing carbon and being a vast reservoir for pharmaceuticals.
But soil biodiversity is under threat. Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years, with a staggering 26.4 billion tons of soil lost each year, a rate that is 10 times faster than soil is being replenished. Soil erosion is also a significant yet largely overlooked contributor to carbon emissions.
In support of this year's theme - 'Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity' - Elsevier presents a curated, open access collection of over 60 journal articles to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy soil ecosystems.
Applied Soil Ecology, Volume 15, August 2000
Soil health is the capacity of soil to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and promote plant and animal health. Anthropogenic reductions in soil health, and of individual components of soil quality, are a pressing ecological concern.
Rhizosphere, Volume 15, September 2020, 100211
Agricultural Systems, Volume 177, January 2020
Elucidating relationships between the soil food web, soil processes, and agroecosystem function is a critical step toward a more sustainable agriculture. Soil and crop management practices can alter these relationships, and their effects can persist even after imposing new management practices. In 2005, the Cornell Organic Grain Cropping Systems Experiment was established in central New York. Four cropping systems that varied in fertilizer inputs, tillage practices, and weed control were compared: High Fertility, Low Fertility, Enhanced Weed Management, Reduced Tillage.
Agricultural Water Management, Volume 221, 20 July 2019
Irrigation management may influence soil greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Solid-set sprinkler irrigation systems allow to modify the irrigation time and frequency. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of two irrigation times (daytime, D; nighttime, N)and two irrigation frequencies (low, L; high, H)on soil carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O)emissions in a solid-set sprinkler-irrigated maize (Zea mays L.)field located in NE Spain during 2015 and 2016 growing seasons and the fallow period between growing seasons.
Agricultural Water Management, Volume 243, 1 January 2021
Water harvesting techniques have shown promising outcomes in mitigating risks, increasing yields and delivering positive influences on other ecosystems. A field study was conducted in Northern Jordan to assess the influence of combined in-situ water harvesting techniques, micro-catchment and mulching on soil moisture content, plant morphology, gas exchange [photosynthesis (Pn), transpiration (E), and stomatal conductance (gs)] and midday stem water potential (Ψsmd) of young pistachio (Pistacia vera cv. Ashori) trees.
Agricultural Water Management, Volume 227, 20 January 2020
Soil and water salinity and associated problems are a major challenge for global food production. Strategies to cope with salinity include a better understanding of the impacts of temporal and spatial dynamics of salinity on soil water balances vis-à-vis evapotranspiration (ET) and devising optimal irrigation schedules and efficient methods. Both steady state and transient models are now available for predicting salinity effects on reduction of crop growth and means for its optimization.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Volume 304, 1 December 2020
Agroecosystems make up a significant portion of terrestrial ecosystems and receive a disproportionally high amount of terrestrial nitrogen inputs from fertilizer, leading to nitrogen loss and associated environmental problems. Integrated crop livestock systems, such as pasture-integrated crop rotations, may be more environmentally sustainable however the long-term effects of this management practice on soil microorganisms and nitrogen transformations are not well understood.