Just five years ago, it was generally believed that the number of food insecure people in the world was on continuous decline. Unfortunately, widespread soil degradation along with resistance to recommended agronomic practices, and little attempt to restore degraded soils have conspired with significant droughts (in regions that could least tolerate them) to swell the ranks of the food insecure to over a billion people. The U.N. Millennium Development Goals’ intent to halve hunger by 2015 will not be realized.
Food Security and Soil Quality brings together leading experts from across the world to provide a concise and factually supported exploration of the problem at hand and the critical steps needed to reverse it. Edited by Rattan Lal, and B.A. Stewart, two of the world’s most respected soil scientists, this important work —
- Assesses farming systems and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, with special emphasis on land degradation
- Examines concerns with and approaches to soil quality management in Brazil and China
- Details achievable methods for improving soil quality for sustainable production
- Provides an insightful comparison of temporal changes in agricultural systems productivity in Punjab, India and Ohio
- Discusses the human dimension of the crisis including the influence of culture and spiritual beliefs
Dr. Lal himself writes that despite the existence of scientific data on sustainable management of soil and water resources, problems of soil and environmental degradation have persisted and have been aggravated. And that these problems are rooted in land misuse and soil mismanagement.
This book does provide policymakers and others with an understanding of the depth, complexity, and immediacy of this crisis, but more than a call to action, it also offers soil scientists working in this area with an understanding of what is being done and what needs to be done. Most importantly, this book helps us understand that the situation is not beyond remediation were we to act with great resolve and a sense of urgency.
A tree's leaves may be ever so good,
So may its bark, so may its wood;
But unless you put the right thing to its root,
It never will show much flower or fruit.
— from Leaves Compared With Flowers, by Robert Frost
Introduction: Food Security and Soil Quality, R. Lal and B. A. Stewart
Managing Soils to Address Global Issues of theTwenty- First Century, R. Lal
Farming Systems and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa, W. A. Payne
Assessment of Land Degradation, Its Possible Causes and Threat to Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa, P. Vlek, Q. B. Le, and L. Tamene
Crop Productivity, Fertilizer Use, and Soil Quality in China, M. Fan, P. Christie, W. Zhang, and F. Zhang
Role of Fertilizers in Food Production, A. Roy
Conservation Agriculture, Improving Soil Quality for Sustainable Production Systems? N. Verhulst, B. Govaerts, E. Verachtert, A. Castellanos- Navarrete, M. Mezzalama, P. C. Wall, A. Chocobar, J. Deckers, and K. D. Sayre
Soil Quality Management in Brazil, C. E. Cerri, C. Bayer, J. Dieckow, J. Carvalho, B. Feigl, and C. C. Cerri
Organic Matter Knowledge and Management in Soils of the Tropics Related to Ecosystem Services, C. Feller, E. Blanchart, M. Bernoux, R. Lal, R. Manlay, and T. Ollivier
Temporal Changes in Productivity of Agricultural Systems in Punjab, India and Ohio, USA, A. Dubey and R. Lal
Soil Quality and Ethics: The Human Dimension, R. Lal
Comprehensive Management of Nutrients in Dryland Soils of China for Sustainable Agriculture, S.-X. Li and Z.-H. Wang