Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health
Soil health, or the capacity of the soil to function, is critical to human survival. Soil health constraints beyond nutrient limitations and excesses currently limit agroecosystem productivity and sustainability, resilience to drought and extreme rainfall, and progress in soil and water conservation. With mounting pressure to produce food, feed, fiber, and even fuel for an increasing population, soil health is gaining national and international attention. Research on both assessment and management of soil health, as well as farmers’ innovations in soil health management approaches have matured over the decades. Multiple regional, national, and global efforts are now leveraging that work to reach new stakeholder audiences, so that soil health management is expanding into mainstream agriculture. Public recognition of the critical importance of maintaining and rebuilding healthy soils for long term sustainable agricultural production is growing. But while much progress has been made, there is much more to be done.