Soil Health and Quality

Soil is an integral factor in agriculture. The success of produce is directly related to the health of the soil on which it is grown. Building the health of soils can improve the production and quality of produce. Improving soil is important, but it can be difficult to assess, understand, and implement development strategies. Below is a list of resources designed to enhance and improve understanding of soil health and quality.


Alexander, M. (1977). Introduction to Soil Microbiology. Wiley.

Anderson, J. M., Heal, O. W., Swift, M. J. ( 1997). Decomposition in TerrestrialEcosystems. University of California Press.

Bardgett, R., Hopkins, D., & Usher, M. (2005). Biological Diversity and Function in Soils. Cambridge University Press.

Brady, N. C. & Weil, R. R. (2001). The Nature and Properties of Soils. Prentice Hall.

Coleman, D. C. (2004). Fundamentals of Soil Ecology. Academic Press.

Cornell University Soil Health Program Publications- This is a listing of peer reviewed and extension publications on soil health – http://soilhealth.cals.cornell.edu/research/publications.pdf

Howard, A. (1972). The Soil and Health: a Study of Organic Agriculture. Schocken Books

Innis, D. (1997). Intercropping and the Scientific Basis of Traditional Agriculture. Practical Action.

Killham, K. (1994). Soil Ecology. Cambridge University Press.

Magdoff, F., Mason, J., & Van Es, H. (2010). Building Soils for Better Crops. SARE Outreach.

Mollison, B. (1988). Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual. Tagari Publications.

National Resources Conservation Service Soil Quality–  This site includes an overview of basic soil quality concepts, a soil quality glossary, and the online Soil Biology Primer. The site also features content focused on the role and benefits of soil organic matter, soil quality indicators and assessment, and soil quality management for major land uses- http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/

Odum, E. P. (2004). Fundamentals of Ecology. Cengage Learning

Pimentel, D. (1980). Handbook of Energy Utilization in Agriculture. CRC Press.

Pimental, M. H. (2007). Food, Energy, and Society. CRC Press

SARE Building Soils for Better Crops, 3rd Edition– This is a practical guide to ecological soil management. It provides step-by-step information on soil-improving practices as well as in-depth background—from what soil is to the importance of organic matter. It also includes case studies of farmers using these techniques -http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Building-Soils-for-Better-Crops-3rd-Edition

Savory, A. (1998). Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making. Island Press.

University of Minnesota The Soil Management Series– a series to help growers improve soil performance and interpret recommendations from advisers – http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/cropsystems/DC7398.html

University of Western Australia Soil Health- This site provides background information relevant to soil health and the sustainable use of land for agriculture, horticulture and other practices, including forestry. The information emphasizes the biological processes in soil.  – http://www.soilhealth.see.uwa.edu.au/index

Unlock the Secrets in the Soil – a resource page with fact sheets, brochures, videos, social media posts and announcements from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service outlining ways to build and maintain healthy soils. The page highlights testimonials and successes of farmers from around the country.

 

 

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