Soil degradation is one of the world’s great environmental problems. At the same time as rivers are contaminated with sediments eroded from soils, severe erosion in many parts of the world results in a significant decrease in soil productivity. Although the immediate cause for water erosion may be intense rainfall, there are a number of reasons soil loss is especially severe in some situations. Susceptibility to erosion is influenced by soil type (silts are more susceptible), degree of aggregate stability, and extent of soil cover by residue and/or growing plants. Compaction, another form of soil degradation, can go unnoticed unless one looks for the symptoms, but it can have a damaging effect on plant growth. For a discussion of tried and true ways of reducing erosion and compaction, see chapters 14 and 15. And for how to reclaim saline, sodic, and saline-sodic soils, see chapter 20.
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Unger, P.W., and T.C. Kaspar. 1994. Soil compaction and root growth: A review. Agronomy Journal 86: 759–766.
Table of Contents
- About the Authors
- Healthy Soils
- Organic Matter: What It Is and Why It's So Important
- Amount of Organic Matter in Soils
- The Living Soil
- Soil Particles, Water, and Air
- Soil Degradation: Erosion, Compaction, and Contamination
- Nutrient Cycles and Flows
- Soil Health, Plant Health, and Pests
- Managing for High Quality Soils: Organic Matter, Soil Physical Condition, Nutrient Availability
- Cover Crops
- Crop Rotations
- Animal Manures for Increasing Organic Matter and Supplying Nutrients
- Making and Using Composts
- Reducing Erosion and Runoff
- Preventing and Lessening Compaction
- Reducing Tillage
- Managing Water: Irrigation and Drainage
- Nutrient Management: An Introduction
- Management of Nitrogen and Phosphorus
- Other Fertility Issues: Nutrients, CEC, Acidity, and Alkalinity
- Getting the Most From Routine Soil Tests
- Taking Soil Samples
- Accuracy of Recommendations Based on Soil Tests
- Sources of Confusion About Soil Tests
- Soil Testing for Nitrogen
- Soil Testing for P
- Testing Soils for Organic Matter
- Interpreting Soil Test Results
- Adjusting a Soil Test Recommendation
- Making Adjustments to Fertilizer Application Rates
- Managing Field Nutrient Variability
- The Basic Cation Saturation Ratio System
- Summary and Sources
- How Good Are Your Soils? Field and Laboratory Evaluation of Soil Health
- Putting It All Together