Introduction



The book Sustainable Soil Management combines the basic knowledge of soil science in an easy-to-read format and provides a practical “real world” application in the management of agricultural soils. This book has two parts. The first part of this book covers the fundamental principles of soil science including soil formation, soil taxonomy, properties of soils, interrelationship between soil water, soil air, soil temperature and nutrient cycling. The second part of this book encompasses a number of soil management strategies used by farmers and ranchers to protect soil resources, one of their most valuable assets. It begins with a chapter on organic matter and its importance in maintaining soil health. Following are chapters on nutrient management, monitoring nutrient status, fertilizers as well as chapters on acidic, saline, and sodic soils. There is a chapter on cover crops in how they maintain and improve soil fertility. Unlike most books, Sustainable Soil Management has included chapters devoted to the soil management of field crops, crop-livestock systems, orchard and vineyard crops, vegetable crops, and pastures. There are also chapters on soil conservation and climate change and its impact on soil. This book is designed as a basic textbook for use in soil science courses and other courses that explore the management of soils and is an invaluable resource for students in agriculture, forestry, ecology, and environmental sciences. The information in this easy-to-use reference guide is distilled from a variety of sources, including scientific literature, extension publications, and producer experience and has the added value of numerous citations to more in-depth discussion on many topics. The book is thoughtfully organized presenting a seamless flow of topics within chapters making it easy to find specific information that interests the reader. Sustainable Soil Management has removed some of the intuition and guesswork in understanding principles and properties of soils and their management. The result is a more consistent product of higher average quality level.