Sustainable Agriculture: Soil Quality

Authored by: John W. Doran , Ed G. Gregorich

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120001719

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Abstract

Sustainable agriculture is a way of farming that can be carried out for generations to come. This long-term approach to agriculture combines efficient production with the wise stewardship of the Earth’s resources, including land management to maintain or enhance the quality of agricultural soils. Over time, sustainable agriculture is expected to meet human needs for food and fiber; protect the natural resource base, preventing the degradation of soil, water, and air quality and conserving biodiversity; use nonrenewable resources efficiently; work with natural biological cycles and controls; and assure the economic survival of farming and the well-being of farmers and their families. Thus, the concept of sustainability embraces three distinct but overlapping areas of concern: social, economic, and environmental factors. Taking a holistic ecosystem approach to agriculture is the key to integrating these components of sustainability.

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