How does agriculture affect soil quality


The Impact of Industrial Agriculture on Soil Health

  • The Effect of Monocropping on Soil Health. Monocropping is the practice of growing the same crop on the same plot of land, year after year. …
  • Synthetic Fertilizers Negatively Impact Soil Health. …
  • Pesticide Residues in Soil. …
  • Factory Farm Waste Contaminates Soils. …
  • Tillage, Soil Compaction and Erosion. …

Farming practices such as tilling break up the soil and destroy its natural structure, killing many of the vital bacteria and fungi that live there and leaving it vulnerable to being washed away. “Soil is not just useful for helping us grow food,” says Vargas.


How does industrial agriculture affect soil health?

Industrial agriculture negatively affects soil health and the atmosphere, by reducing organic matter and releasing carbon. The Effect of Monocropping on Soil Health Monocropping is the practice of growing the same crop on the same plot of land, year after year.

How does soil health change in agro-ecosystems?

In agro-ecosystems, the soil health can change due to anthropogenic activities, such as preferred cropping practices and intensive land-use management, which can further impact soil functions.

What are the benefits of sustainable agriculture for soil?

Here are just some of the major benefits that sustainable agricultural practices have on soil health: Improved carbon sequestration — regenerative agricultural techniques, like cover cropping, can help build soil and sequester carbon. Healthy, carbon-rich soil plays an indispensable role in the fight against climate change. 38

How do cropping systems affect soil health and quality?

Cropping systems and soil health Cropping systems, including crop diversification, crop rotation and intercropping, and related agronomic practices used in agriculture impact soil health and quality from various spatial and temporal aspects ( Vukicevich et al., 2016 ).


How does growing crops affect soil quality?

Crop roots and residues improve soil fertility by stimulating soil microbial communities and improving soil aggregation. This improved soil physical environment facilitates water infiltration, water holding, aeration, and, ultimately, root growth and plant nutrient foraging.

Which of the following agricultural aspects affect soil quality?

Advanced machinery and equipment and improved plant varieties are used,commercial fertilizers,pesticides,animal manures etc are added to soil every season/year. These practices over time may affect the soil health and also may affect the water quality in wells and near by water bodies.

How does modern agricultural practices affect the quality of soil?

The top fertile soil of the farmland is removed due to the excessive water supply. This leads to the loss of nutrient-rich soil that hampered productivity. It also causes global warming because the silt of water bodies induces the release of soil carbon from the particulate organic material.

What can affect soil quality?

Plant growth is affected by the amount of nutrients and moisture in the soil. High-quality soils contain a lot of organic matter, nutrients, and water. Soil quality is affected by farming practices. Plowing and tilling can disrupt soil structure as the soil is turned over for planting.

How does agriculture cause soil pollution?

Agriculture and livestock activities pollute soil through excessive application of pesticides and fertilizers, the use of untreated wastewater for irrigation, and the use of manure and sewage sludge with high antibiotic, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and heavy metal content.

How can agriculture cause soil erosion?

Vegetation cover The loss of protective vegetation through overgrazing, ploughing and fire makes soil vulnerable to being swept away by wind and water.

Why agriculture is bad for the environment?

Agriculture is the leading source of pollution in many countries. Pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic farm chemicals can poison fresh water, marine ecosystems, air and soil. They also can remain in the environment for generations.

How does agriculture negatively affect the environment?

Agriculture contributes to a number larger of environmental issues that cause environmental degradation including: climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, dead zones, genetic engineering, irrigation problems, pollutants, soil degradation, and waste.

What are the positive and negative effects of agriculture?

While negative impacts are serious, and can include pollution and degradation of soil, water, and air, agriculture can also positively impact the environment, for instance by trapping greenhouse gases within crops and soils, or mitigating flood risks through the adoption of certain farming practices.

How does farming affect the quality of soil?

Agriculture alters the natural cycling of nutrients in soil. Intensive cultivation and harvesting of crops for human or animal consumption can effectively mine the soil of plant nutrients. In order to maintain soil fertility for sufficient crop yields, soil amendments are typically required.

What are the impacts of industrial agriculture?

According to some estimates, industrialized farming –which produces greenhouse gas emission, pollutes air and water, and destroys wildlife–costs the environment the equivalent of about US$3 trillion every year.

In what ways does industrial farming affect the environment?

Its systems involve the consumption of fossil fuels, topsoil, and water at very unsustainable rates. It has been found to contribute to several forms of environmental degradation, including air and water pollution, depletion of soils, fish die-offs, and diminishing biodiversity.

Why is poor quality soil a problem?

Soil degradation leads directly to water pollution by sediments and attached agricultural chemicals from eroded fields. Soil degradation indirectly causes water pollution by increasing the erosive power of runoff and by reducing the soil’s ability to hold or immobilize nutrients and pesticides.

What do farmers add to the soil to enrich it?

Farmers enrich the soil by adding of biological manure, fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals to increase the yield exponentially. If these chemicals are used for longer time in high amounts than these may detoriate the quality of soil.

Why is agriculture harmful?

Much agricultural work is, by its nature, physically demanding. The risk of accidents is increased by fatigue, poorly designed tools, difficult terrain, exposure to extreme weather conditions, and poor general health, associated with working and living in remote and rural communities.

What are the negative effects of agriculture?

Agriculture is the leading source of pollution in many countries. Pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic farm chemicals can poison fresh water, marine ecosystems, air and soil. They also can remain in the environment for generations.

What is the natural vegetation of Guinea?

The natural vegetation is Guinea Savanna. The major soil type on which agriculture is practiced falls on Ferric lixisols (FAO) or Alfisols (USDA) (Adu and Asiamah, 2003). Soils at the mother and baby trial sites were sandy in texture with low clay contents.

What crops are monocultured?

With regards to cropping pattern, farmers intercrop sorghum or millet with local cowpea, or grow only maize as monoculture. However, during the PTD workshop, farmers chose soybean and maize as the preferred crops to test presumably because soybean is considered as a cash crop and there is ready market for it.

Why is crop diversification important?

Crop diversification is often described as the ‘planned diversity’ of cropping systems ( Matson et al., 1997 ). It is not only critical for optimizing crop production but also important for increasing soil health by balancing soil biodiversity, enhancing soil nutrient use efficiency, and reducing soil-borne pathogens ( Barbieri et al., 2019; Gurr et al., 2016 ). It is well accepted that optimized crop diversification has various benefits, not only to growers but also to the environment, as increasing crop diversity can enhance heterogeneity of soil chemical nutrients, soil physical structures, and functional microorganisms at different spatial scales, leading to improved soil health and crop yields ( Bardgett and van der Putten, 2014; Maron et al., 2011 ). However, this relationship can vary with species redundancy and host-specificity of some soil-borne pathogens ( Naeem, 1998; Zhu et al., 2000 ). For example, Bainard et al. (2017b) reported that increased crop diversity did not necessarily reduce soil-borne diseases; in particular, including more pulse crops in rotations significantly increased the pathogen index, which may be due to an increase in pulse-specific pathogens.

How does intercropping improve soil health?

Intercropping practices can enhance soil health by reducing artificial chemical pollution ( Lemaire et al., 2014 ), inhibiting soil disease ( Vukicevich et al., 2016 ), increasing plant root function ( Bukovsky-Reyes et al., 2019 ), enhancing soil nutrient and spatial use efficiency ( Hinsinger et al., 2011) and promoting bio-functionalities of soil microorganisms ( Sun et al., 2019 ). For example, a study in a semi-arid area in Gansu, China, found that intercropping systems, including corn, wheat, and faba beans, had about 23%, 4%, and 11% higher root biomass and organic C and N contents in the top 20 cm soil layer than those species in rotation ( Cong et al., 2015 ). In Pernambuco, Brazil, intercropping cassava with pigeon pea and beans significantly reduced black root rot ( Scytalidium lignicola) in cassava by up to 50% compared with cassava in monoculture ( de Medeiros et al., 2019 ). In addition, the intercropping soil had higher organic C and other nutrients, microbial biomass, and enzyme activities, than the monoculture soil, which were correlated with a decline in disease severity ( de Medeiros et al., 2019 ).

What are the causes of soil degradation?

Many anthropogenic activities that are used in various cropping systems, such as intensive tillage, fossil fuel consumption, draining of wetlands, adaptation of heavy equipment in farming practices, fertilization, and pesticide management, are factors that cause global soil degradation in agriculture. Other effects like erosion by water, erosion by wind, decline of organic matter in peat and mineral soils , compaction, sealing, contamination, salinization, desertification, flooding and landslides, and decline in biodiversity also threaten soil health ( Stolte et al., 2015 ). Soil degradation is one of the most severe socioeconomic and environmental problems threatening our survival and well-being, mainly when analyzed for food security and safety. In this respect, it is unquestionable that feeding the rapidly growing human population is one of the most critical and disquieting challenges our society will face in the present 21st century, particularly in light of the existing situation with climate change and its expected strong negative impact on food production ( Smith and Gregory, 2013 ).

What are the benefits of free living soil microorganisms?

While symbiotic soil microbes have tight relationships with their host plants and related eco-functions, free-living soil microorganisms also have potential benefits for plant growth and soil health in cropping systems ( Müller et al., 2016 ).

What is the role of strigolactones in plant defense?

Strigolactones are involved in plant defense signaling as well as stimulating hyphal branching in the presymbiotic stage of AM symbioses ( Kretzschmar et al., 2012) and triggering pathogen infection in plant root tissue with certain phenolic compounds ( Steinkellner et al., 2007 ).

What is soil health?

Soil health is defined as the capacity of soil to function, within ecosystem boundaries, to sustain crop and animal productivities, maintain or enhance environmental sustainability, and improve human health worldwide. In agro-ecosystems, the soil health can change due to anthropogenic activities, such as preferred cropping practices …

What is the impact of low mineral fertilization efficiency?

Global concern is due to low mineral fertilization use efficiency (N is around 50–60% in cereal crops, P is about 15–20% in most crops and K is 60–80%), as low nutrient recovery efficiency not only increases food costs but also reduces soil health and causes other environmental problems ( Bhattacharya, 2019 ).

Why is soil important for crop growth?

Soil quality is a key factor for the growth of crop plants and the deciding factor for the availability of plant nutrients. There is a need to enhance the food grain production by 280 million tons to fulfill the food demands of the growing population by 2020 (Singh et al., 2016).

What is soil quality?

Soil quality is an effective tool for monitoring soil function. Assessing soil quality involves measuring physical, chemical, and biological soil properties and using these measured values to identify properties of the soil that may be inhibiting soil function or to monitor how changes in management are affecting soil functions.

What are the two terms used to describe the functional state of soil?

The composition and quantity of active soil enzymes and the microbial community itself, at a given point in time, dictate the nutrient availability and thus the health of soil. Soil quality and soil health are the two terms used to describe the functional state of soil.

What is landscape ecology?

A landscape, in ecology, is the particular spatial arrangement of components of the environment that are important in some way to population dynamics of a given species. Landscapes usually include patches of multiple habitats, as well as variability in conditions that affect habitat quality.

What are the microorganisms in soil?

The group of microanimals present in the soil consists of nematodes and protozoa. A group of macroanimals in the soil are numerous, and they are as follows: earthworms, rodents (prairie dogs, moles, gophers, etc.), arthropods (mites, insects, spiders, etc.), and gastropods (slugs, snails, etc.).

What is the foundation of organic farming?

Soil quality is the foundation on which organic farming is based. Natural plant nutrients from green manures, farmyard manures, composts, and plant residues build organic content in the soil. Efforts are directed to build and maintain the soil fertility through the farming practices.

What is a one time assessment of soil quality?

Such one-time assessments are termed ‘comparative soil quality assessments.’.


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