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AbstractThe soil is a fundamental constituent of the Earth’s system, maintaining a careful state of equilibrium within the biosphere. However, this natural balance is being increasingly disturbed by a variety of anthropogenic and natural processes, leading to the degradation of many soil environments. Soil Management provides a comprehensive and authoritative introduction to the many problems, challenges and potential solutions facing soil management in the twenty-first century. Covering topics such as erosion, desertification, salinization, soil structure, carbon sequestration, acidification and chemical pollution, the book also develops a prognosis for the future of soil management faced with growing populations and global warming. Written with the needs of students in mind, each chapter provides a broad overview of a particular problem, approaches to its solution and concludes with references and suggestions for further reading, so providing a pathway to more detailed and advanced study.
PublisherLondon: Hodder Arnold
DescriptionThe book introduces soil management issues and is suitable mainly for second and third year students on degree courses in Environmental Sciences, Geography and Agriculture. While teaching soil management courses, both authors noted that no single book covered all the main aspects of soil management. In the early 21st century, society faces many problems and challenges associated with soil management, which need practical and sustainable solutions. This book develops an overview of problems of soil management and strategies for their solution. Such a broad remit does not permit detailed reviews. However, each Chapter concludes with references and suggestions for further reading and so provides pathways to more detailed and advanced studies. Chapter 1 reviews the scale and nature of soil management problems. In Chapter 2 patterns and processes of water and wind erosion are examined, along with techniques for soil conservation. Chapter 3 addresses the inter-related problems of desertification and salinization of arid soils. This includes a review of the extent and severity of the problems and the relative importance of human and natural causes. The issue of the amelioration of arid soils is considered, including the feasibility of desert reclamation and soil desalinization. Optimal use of soil requires careful consideration of soil water and in Chapter 4 soil water management issues are investigated, specifically irrigation, drainage and their environmental consequences. Chapter 5 explores the related problems of chemical pollution of soil, water and the atmosphere. These include agricultural and industrial sources of pollution. The problems posed by nitrate, phosphate, pesticides and pathogenic micro-organisms are also reviewed. Chapter 6 considers the various natural and industrial causes of soil acidification, and the effects of acidification on plant, animal and human health. The Chapter concludes with a review of procedures to combat acidification. Chapter 7 considers the nature of soil structure and how it can be modified. This includes discussion of the benefits and problems of zero and conventional tillage practises. The problems of soil compaction and the reclamation and restoration of quarries, landfill sites and mine-spoil are also considered. Chapter 8 considers the importance of soil organic matter conservation, including the dynamics of organic matter in soils, its loss through agricultural activities and methods of increasing its abundance in soil. The value of crop residues and implications of peat wastage are also considered. Climatic change is currently receiving intense investigation and soils play an important role, as discussed in Chapter 9. Soils affect the global carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide cycles and budgets, and possibilities for managing soils to minimize emissions of these ‘greenhouse’ gases are discussed. However, the history and likely causes of recent and earlier climate change in the past suggest that our future climate may well be influenced in unexpected ways by natural factors as well as by increasing greenhouse gases. The concluding Chapter 10 summarizes the prospects in the 21st Century, in particular the changing problems and solutions in the face of growing global population and global warming. The effects of urbanization on the extent and quality of soils and suitable techniques for soil reclamation, rehabilitation, restoration and recreation are examined. The Chapter concludes with a consideration of relationships between soils and environmental health and the potential for improved soil management for habitat creation.