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Agroforestry for soil health
- Dollinger, Jeanne, Jose, Shibu
- Agroforestry systems 2018 v.92 no.2 pp. 213-219
- agroecosystems, agroforestry, continuous cropping, issues and policy, land use, nutrient availability, soil, soil fertility, soil nutrients, soil organic carbon, soil quality, sustainable land management, trees
- Healthy soil is one of the most critical resources for the health and sustainability of ecosystems, including agroecosystems. Although the agroforestry community has long been convinced of the soil health benefits of agroforestry practices, many of such practices remain to be fully accepted by the mainstream agriculture community. Agroforestry, as a sustainable land management practice, has shown solid evidence of its role in improving soil quality and health based on at least four decades of data gathered from the world over. This thematic issue presents 28 papers that add further to the body of knowledge to reaffirm that agroforestry can improve the major measurable soil metrics that define soil health. Collectively, these papers show that agroforestry has the ability to (1) enrich soil organic carbon better than monocropping systems, (2) improve soil nutrient availability and soil fertility due to the presence of trees in the system, and (3) enhance soil microbial dynamics, which would positively influence soil health. It is imperative that agroforestry, as part of a multifunctional land-use strategy, should receive increased attention in our policy discussion for the future of soil and soil health.