2nd Edition

Biological Approaches to Regenerative Soil Systems

Edited By Norman Uphoff, Janice Thies Copyright 2023
    630 Pages 130 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Agriculture in the 21st century will need considerable modification to remain both productive and sustainable. Greater production is needed to meet the needs of our still-growing populations and to combat hunger and poverty. Declines in soil health and the pollution of water sources are making many of our production systems less tenable. These adverse trends are exacerbated more and more by the impacts of climate change.

    There are, fortunately, alternative methods available for agricultural practice that can countervail these constraints. Biological Approaches to Regenerative Soil Systems brings together the work of both researchers and practitioners to map out better approaches to contemporary agriculture that draw upon both old and new knowledge. It presents the science that underlies more biologically driven strategies as well as contemporary innovative experiences in diverse parts of the world. Both accepted research and these varied experiences encourage confidence that these approaches, not relying primarily on the introduction of new varieties and on exogenous inputs, can succeed.

    This book updates and revises a preceding volume Biological Approaches to Sustainable Soil Systems published by CRC Press in 2006. So much has been learned and done on this subject in the past decade and a half that a second edition was warranted. For instance, the first edition was published, knowledge about plant-soil microbiomes, which are a frequent focus in this book, has mushroomed.

    Because sustainability is a broad term and an end-state, the editors preferred to assemble expertise regarding regenerative agriculture, which is concerned with the means for achieving sustainability. The concept of regenerative soil systems, entities that are more complex and multifaceted than "soil" alone, also incorporates a concern with having more resilient agricultural systems, ones that are better able to cope with the multiple stresses of climate change that are foreseen for the decades ahead.

    The book’s chapters representing a wide range of disciplines were contributed by 84 scientists and practitioners from 20 countries. Although they come from persons with in-depth knowledge of their respective fields, the chapters are written to be accessible to readers who are not trained in the specialized subjects. Taken together, the chapters provide students, researchers, practitioners, planners, and policy makers with a comprehensive understanding of both the science and the steps needed to regenerate and sustain soil systems around the world for the long-term benefit of humankind and the environment.

    PART I: Overview. 1. Understanding the Functioning and Management of Soil Systems. 2. Regenerative Agriculture and Redesign for Sustainability. 3. The Fifth Agricultural Revolution: Soil Health in Historical and Human Perspective. 4. Soil System Management in the Humid and Subhumid Tropics. 5. Managing Soils as Systems within Temperate-Region Landscapes. 6. The Management of Soil Systems in Arid and Semi-Arid Climates. PART II: SOIL ORGANISMIS AND BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES. 7. The Soil Habitat and Soil Ecology. 8. Energy Inputs into Soil Systems. 9. Soil Systems in Evolutionary Perspective. 10. The Plant-Soil Microbiome: An Overview. 11. Rhizosphere Dynamics at the Soil-Root Interface. 12. Plant Phyllospheres and Endospheres as Venues for Plant-Soil-Microbial Interaction. 13. Biological Nitrogen Fixation within Agroecosystems and Plant Roots. 14. Contributions of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi to Plant and Soil System Performance. 15. Contributions of Trichoderma and Other Fungi in the Plant-Soil Microbiome. 16. Moving Up within the Soil Food Web: Protists, Nematodes, and Other Microfauna. 17. Detritivore Roles in Soil Carbon Cycling and Agroecosystem Services. 18. Microbial Enhancement of Phosphorus Availability in Soil Systems. 19. Enriching Micronutrient Status within Soil Systems and Plants through Microbial Activity. 20. Phytohormones: Microbial Production and Applications. 21. How pH and Eh Influence Soil Nutrient Dynamics with Microbial Mediation. 22. Livestock Interactions in Regenerative Soil Systems. PART III: STRATEGIES AND METHODS FOR MAKING SOIL SYSTEMS MORE REGENERATIVE AND RESILIENT. 23. Conservation Agriculture for Regenerative and Resilient Production Systems. 24. Nurturing Soil Life through Agroforestry: The Roles of Trees in the Ecological Intensification of Agriculture. 25. Green Manure/Cover Crops for Recuperating Soils and Maintaining Soil System Fertility. 26. Soil Biological Contributions to the Productivity of the System of Rice Intensification. 27. Composts as Soil Amendments That Promote Soil Health. 28. Biochar-Based Recycling of Biomass and Nutrients at Multiple Scales. 29. Rhizosphere Management for More Productive and More Resilient Soil Systems. 30. Biological Options for Stimulating Phosphorus Availability in Soil Systems. 31. Using Microbes to Enhance the Performance of Plants and Soil Systems. 32. Suppressing Soilborne Pathogens and Pests through Soil Management Practices. PART IV: COUNTRY EXPERIENCES AND EVIDENCE. 33. Long-Term Evaluation of Crop Production Systems Based on Locally Available Biological Inputs in India. 34. Village-Level Production and Use of Biofertilizers and Biocontrol Agents: A Farmer-Centered Approach. 35. Enhancing Soil System Productivity and Controlling Pests with Push-Pull Polycropping in East Africa. 36. Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration of Soil Systems in the Sahelian Region of West Africa. 37. Community-Managed Natural Farming in Andhra Pradesh, India. 38. Agroecological Farm Management Strategies in the Midwestern United States. 39. Response-Ability: Establishing Regenerative Soil Management in the Northern Andes. 40. Restoring Soil Health in Grassland Ecosystems: The Great Plains of North America and the Loess Plateau of China. 41. Building Support for Protecting Soil Health and Improving Soil Systems in China. PART V: BROADER PERSPECTIVES IN SOIL SYSTEM MANAGEMENT. 42. Impacts of Climate on Soil Systems and of Soil Systems on Climate. 43. Economic and Policy Contexts for the Biological Management of Soil Fertility. 44. Restoring Degraded Soil Systems with Biological Means. 45. Measuring and Monitoring Soil Health. 46. Laboratory Methods for Assessing Soil Health. 47. Limits with Industrialized Practices for Agriculture. 48. Refocused Thinking for More Regenerative Soil Systems. 49. Practices for More Regenerative Soil Systems.


    Janice E. Thies: Associate professor of soil biology in the School of Integrated Plant Science at Cornell University, USA, and international professor of soil ecology in the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Fellow of both the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy, and associate editor of the Soil Science Society of America Journal; past member of editorial board for Applied and Environmental Microbiology; subject editor for the journals Agronomy and Soil Biology and Biochemistry; expert consultant for FAO and US Environmental Protection Agency; guest professor at Zhejiang University in China; research focuses on soil management strategies for improving soil health and productivity in smallholder farming systems.

    Norman Uphoff: Professor emeritus of government and international agriculture, Cornell University, USA; director of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development, 1990-2005, and of Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, 2010-2014; edited and contributed to the proceedings of a Bellagio conference on Agroecological Innovations: Increasing Agricultural Production with Participatory Development (2002); editor for the first edition of this book (2006); has been working on understanding the System of Rice Intensification since 1994 with increasing focus on soil microbiology in collaboration with colleagues in several countries, publishing articles in Plant Molecular Biology, Journal of Applied Microbiology, and Frontiers in Plant Science; in 2015 received the first international Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security.