About this Research Topic
Climate change poses the greatest challenge to ecosystems, agricultural sustainability and food security in the coming decades. The concept ‘Climate smart agriculture (CSA)’ was framed by world Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). CSA is an approach for developing agricultural strategies to secure sustainable food security under climate change. CSA mostly aims at (a) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and income, (b) adapting and building resilience to climate change, and (c) reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The performance of CSA relies heavily on the proper stewardship of soil. Soil provides habitat for biodiversity as well as fundamental ecosystem services including nutrient cycling, organic matter decomposition and GHG emissions.
At the system level, the microbiome plays an integral role in virtually all the soil processes, such that microbial abundance, diversity and activity will largely determine not only sustainable productivity of agricultural land, but also ecosystem sustainability against nutrient mining, degradation of soil and water resources and GHG emissions. Thus, in the context of climate change, it is crucial to understand how agricultural management practices influence the structure and function of microbial communities with potential roles in soil fertility and productivity, carbon storage and GHG mitigation. In recent years, major advances in omic techniques have led to spatial studies on soil microbial communities, and community-level molecular characteristics can be exploited as early indicators of ecosystem processes for monitoring and managing sustainable agricultural productivity and soil and ecosystem health under global climatic change.
To cope with the challenges of climate change, crop production must adapt (e.g., crop varietal selection, cropping patterns and ecosystem management approaches) and become resilient to changes. Crop production can contribute to mitigating climate change by reducing GHG emissions, for example by reducing the use of/ Judiciously using inorganic fertilizers, avoiding compaction or flooding to suppress methane emissions (e.g., in rice cropping systems) and sequestrating carbon (e.g., by improved varieties or species with greater root mass to deposit C in deeper layers where turnover is slower, adopting crop rotations that provide greater C inputs, cover crops during fallow periods to provide year-round C inputs and more residue retention).
This Research Topic will showcase novel experimental concepts such as process-oriented omics approaches with state-of-the-art technological advances in agricultural science to better understand the role of microbes in agricultural management (e.g., conservation agriculture, integrated nutrient and soil management, mulch cropping, cover cropping, alternation in cropping patterns and rotations, crop diversification, using high quality seeds and planting materials of adapted varieties, integrated pest management, integrated weed management, water and irrigation management, and organic agriculture) that contribute to climate change adaptation , GHG mitigation and carbon storage.
Keywords: Omics, sustainable agriculture, greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation, C transformation and stability, Extreme weather events, Elevated CO2 and O3