Research Topic

Ecological Nutrient Management as a Pathway to Zero Hunger

About this Research Topic

The second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2), Zero Hunger, bridges disciplines with targets for improving food security and nutrition, as well as promoting sustainable agriculture. The management of soil nutrients is fundamental to realizing both of these targets. Globally, nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus limit crop production, yet excess inputs of these nutrients can contribute to environmental degradation, especially to climate change and water pollution. A more holistic, ecological perspective on nutrient management allows farmers to manage ecological processes for functions such as productivity, whilst at the same time reducing non-renewable inputs. Ecological nutrient management considers farms and surrounding landscapes as ecosystems and encompasses a suite of practices that center on increasing and managing crop diversity.

Applying ecological science to soil nutrient management is a key pathway to Zero Hunger by supporting more sustainable food production while mitigating environmental pollution. Ecological nutrient management is an umbrella concept for strategies that enhance ecological interactions and dynamics operating from the plant-soil interface to agricultural landscapes. For instance, the concept emphasizes forms of nutrients that are better retained in the soil, soil organic matter as a source of nutrients, management of multiple ecosystem processes, and balancing nutrient budgets.

This Research Topic focuses on processes and mechanisms relevant to advancing ecological nutrient management in agriculture. Processes and mechanisms contemplated here include root-microbe interactions, dynamics of decomposition and nutrient release, residue quality, and landscape-level nutrient flows that explain the performance of agroecosystems. We also recognize the importance of understanding how ecological nutrient management links to other aspects of SDG 2 such as food security and improved nutrition.

We encourage papers that focus on ecological nutrient management as a pathway to meeting the multidimensional goals of SDG 2, Zero Hunger. Contributions may address mechanistic topics such as the effects of crop diversity on soil C and internal nutrient cycling processes – including plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere, or drivers of variation in processes across environmental gradients. We also welcome applied research on related topics such as soil fertility amendments or nutrient mass balances. Finally, we encourage interdisciplinary contributions that use participatory research approaches or which analyze social drivers and barriers to ecological nutrient management, as well as analyzing links to other food system aspects such as crop nutritional quality, urban-rural residue recycling, public health impacts, and policies to support ecological nutrient management. Papers may include empirical research, reviews, or conceptual contributions.


Keywords: Agroecology, soil carbon, diversified farming systems, ecological nutrient management, SDG 2, soil nutrient cycling, rhizosphere


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2), Zero Hunger, bridges disciplines with targets for improving food security and nutrition, as well as promoting sustainable agriculture. The management of soil nutrients is fundamental to realizing both of these targets. Globally, nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus limit crop production, yet excess inputs of these nutrients can contribute to environmental degradation, especially to climate change and water pollution. A more holistic, ecological perspective on nutrient management allows farmers to manage ecological processes for functions such as productivity, whilst at the same time reducing non-renewable inputs. Ecological nutrient management considers farms and surrounding landscapes as ecosystems and encompasses a suite of practices that center on increasing and managing crop diversity.

Applying ecological science to soil nutrient management is a key pathway to Zero Hunger by supporting more sustainable food production while mitigating environmental pollution. Ecological nutrient management is an umbrella concept for strategies that enhance ecological interactions and dynamics operating from the plant-soil interface to agricultural landscapes. For instance, the concept emphasizes forms of nutrients that are better retained in the soil, soil organic matter as a source of nutrients, management of multiple ecosystem processes, and balancing nutrient budgets.

This Research Topic focuses on processes and mechanisms relevant to advancing ecological nutrient management in agriculture. Processes and mechanisms contemplated here include root-microbe interactions, dynamics of decomposition and nutrient release, residue quality, and landscape-level nutrient flows that explain the performance of agroecosystems. We also recognize the importance of understanding how ecological nutrient management links to other aspects of SDG 2 such as food security and improved nutrition.

We encourage papers that focus on ecological nutrient management as a pathway to meeting the multidimensional goals of SDG 2, Zero Hunger. Contributions may address mechanistic topics such as the effects of crop diversity on soil C and internal nutrient cycling processes – including plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere, or drivers of variation in processes across environmental gradients. We also welcome applied research on related topics such as soil fertility amendments or nutrient mass balances. Finally, we encourage interdisciplinary contributions that use participatory research approaches or which analyze social drivers and barriers to ecological nutrient management, as well as analyzing links to other food system aspects such as crop nutritional quality, urban-rural residue recycling, public health impacts, and policies to support ecological nutrient management. Papers may include empirical research, reviews, or conceptual contributions.


Keywords: Agroecology, soil carbon, diversified farming systems, ecological nutrient management, SDG 2, soil nutrient cycling, rhizosphere


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

06 April 2021 Manuscript
06 May 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

06 April 2021 Manuscript
06 May 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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