About this Research Topic
Soil health, defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans, is integral to sustainable agriculture and is one of the keys to increasing the resilience of food production to environmental stresses. Given the current concerns around food production in the context of climate change, extensive research and outreach efforts must be focused on building soil health and sustainably producing food. This collection of manuscripts on emerging agricultural practices and ways to sustain food production will be useful to scientists, agricultural educators, government regulators, and other relevant stakeholders of food production. The research published in this collection will also serve as a good course on a global scale to help mitigate the degradation of soil health.
Degrading soil health threatens food security and could plunge millions of people into hunger and poverty if not addressed. It is therefore important to identify emerging agricultural practices that could be implemented to improve soil health and sustain food production, as well as identify the scientific, social, and economic barriers to the adoption of sustainable management practices. A wide array of research questions still needs to be further addressed, including:
(a) are biodegradable plastic mulches a sustainable alternative for food production compared to non-degradable plastic mulches?
(b) will the adoption of integrated regenerative agricultural practices (such as reduced tillage, cover crops, organic amendment, and bio-inoculation) in a farming system improve soil health better than the sole adoption of individual practices?
(c) how does the land tenure system complicate the incentives of producers to adopt sustainable management practices to improve soil health?
This Research Topic seeks high-quality papers from all countries across the world that (a) advance current knowledge on soil health assessment, (b) demonstrate how emerging agricultural practices will/will not contribute to improved soil health, (c) identify critical limiting factors to the wide adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, and/or (d) provide insights on the linkages between improved soil health and food security.
As impaired soil function affects food production, it is recommended that applicable studies simultaneously evaluate the impact of emerging agricultural practices on crop productivity and different soil functions, such as physical support, nutrient cycling, water relations, and biodiversity and resilience.
Keywords: Soil health, food security, sustainable agricultural practices, soil degradation, soil health assessment
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.