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  • Book
    Boris Boincean, David Dent.
    Summary: 'This book deals with the sustainability of agriculture on the Black Earth by drawing on data from long-term field experiments. It emphasises the opportunities for greater food and water security at local and regional levels. The Black Earth, Chernozem in Russian, is the best arable soil in the world and the breadbasket of Europe and North America. It was the focus of scientific study at the very beginnings of soil science in the late 19th century-as a world in itself, created by the roots of the steppe grasses building a water-stable granular structure that holds plentiful water, allows rapid infiltration of rain and snow melt, and free drainage of any surplus. Under the onslaught of industrial farming, Chernozem have undergone profound but largely unnoticed changes with far-reaching consequences-to the point that agriculture on Chernozem is no longer sustainable. The effects of agricultural practices on global warming, the diversion of rainfall away from replenishment of water resources to destructive runoff, and the pollution of streams and groundwater are all pressing issues. Sustainability absolutely requires that these consequences be arrested.

    Contents:
    Intro; Foreword; Acknowledgements; Overview; Introduction; A New Paradigm for Sustainable Intensification of Farming on Chernozem. As the Best Arable Soil in the World, It is Under the Greatest Pressure; Lessons from Long-Term Field Experiments on Chernozem; Similarity of the Yields of Different Crops and the Productivity of the Whole Crop Rotation Regardless of the Kind and Frequency of Tillage; Inherent Soil Fertility Makes a Big Contribution to Crop Yields; Restoring Soil Fertility Through Carbon Sequestration; References; Contents; About the Authors; 1 Changing the Farming Paradigm 1.1 Introduction1.2 Changing the Paradigm; 1.2.1 Indiscriminate Agricultural Intensification and Its Consequences; 1.2.2 Input-Based Agricultural Intensification and Food Security; 1.2.3 Ecological Consequences of the Industrial Model of Agricultural Intensification; 1.2.4 Societal Consequences of Indiscriminate and Excessive Industrial Inputs; 1.3 Holistic Approach to Farm Management: CNPK versus NPK; 1.3.1 Classical Agronomy and the Importance of Soil Fertility; 1.3.2 Feeding the Soils versus Feeding the Crops; 1.4 A New Paradigm; 1.5 Conclusions; References 2 Agroecology: Science for Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture2.1 Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture; 2.1.1 Agroecology; 2.2 Natural Ecosystems as Models for Sustainable Agroecosystems; 2.3 Conclusions; References; 3 Land Use, Soil Quality and Management of Soil Organic Matter; 3.1 Introduction; 3.2 Land-Use Change and Soil Management; 3.3 Soil Health and Quality; 3.4 Soil Organic Matter and Its Transformation in Chernozem; 3.5 Soil Structure: The Most Revealing Indicator of Soil Fertility in Chernozem; 3.6 Conclusions; References; 4 Carbon Sequestration and Climate Change 4.1 Introduction4.2 Carbon Sequestration Under Different Farming Practices; 4.2.1 Annual versus Perennial Cropping; No-till versus Conventional Cultivation; 4.2.2 Crop Rotation and Continuous Monocropping; 4.2.3 Topsoil versus Subsoil; Roots versus Shoots; 4.2.4 Fertilization; 4.2.5 Irrigation; 4.2.6 Tillage; 4.3 Climate Change; 4.4 Conclusions; References; 5 Crop Rotation; 5.1 Introduction; 5.2 Principles for Building Crop Rotations; 5.2.1 Diversity of Crops; 5.2.2 Alternation of Crops with Different Rooting Depths; 5.2.3 Restoration of Soil Organic Matter 5.2.4 Preventing Soil Erosion and Droughts5.2.5 Increasing the Innate Capacity of Crops and Soils to Suppress Weeds, Pests and Disease, and Avoid Soil Exhaustion; 5.3 Conclusions; References; 6 Tillage and Conservation Agriculture; 6.1 Introduction; 6.2 To Plough or Not to Plough?; 6.3 Yields and Soil Fertility under No-till and Conventional Tillage; 6.4 The Role of Crop Residues in No-till; 6.5 Conservation Agriculture; 6.5.1 Lessons Learned; 6.5.2 Pros and Cons; 6.6 Weed Management: No-till, Agrochemicals, Biodiversity and Public Health; 6.7 Conclusions; References
    Digital Access Springer 2019