Understanding the types of soil present in a location and how to work with the soil to maintain and improve its biological potential is essential to sustainable food production.  

 

Please note that the links listed below may lead to additional resources which have not yet been added to this collection.  Search for more listings and filtering

 

Click here to access Conversations about Soil Life


  1. 2012-11-14 The UNCCD estimates that over 250 million people are affected by land degradation, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk. According to the WMO, 33% of the world’s land surface is vulnerable to land degradation.Degraded lands lead to overall reduced productivity and reduced...
  2. Key Resource
    2009-01-20 All plants need certain mineral elements for proper growth, development, and maintenance. The basic structure of all organisms is built of carbon (C), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H). Plants obtain these elements from water (H2O) in the soil and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, so no input is...
  3. Key Resource
    2002-01-01 Acidification of soil is a natural process with major ramifications on plant growth. As soils become more acid, particularly when the pH drops below 4.5, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce food crops. As soil pH declines, the supply of most plant nutrients decreases while aluminum and a...
  4. Key Resource
    2016-08-17 Farmers and gardeners in semi-arid and arid regions of the world face two associated but separate problems, which limit the crops they can grow and the yield of these crops. The underlying problem is lack of rainfall needed for growing plants. The second is accumulation of salts in the root zone....
  5. Farmers and gardeners in semi-arid and arid regions of the world face two associated but separate problems, which limit the crops they can grow and the yield of these crops. The underlying problem is lack of rainfall needed for growing plants. The second is accumulation of salts in the root zone....
  6. 2015-07-23 Climate change will have a huge impact on the world’s poorest people. Crop yields have already gone down in the tropics and are projected to drop by 15-30% by 2080 in Africa, South Asia, and Central America (Hoffman 2013). Some countries could reach a 50% loss of agricultural productivity; in...
  7. 2002-01-20 The conventional view of the relationship between soil nutrients and crop productivity in the tropics is leading to both damaging agricultural policies and inefficient and damaging farm-level practices. There is no need to use the huge quantities of chemical fertilizers that are so often...
  8. This video provides a quick overview of the procedure used at ECHO Florida to test for soil nitrate using a Vernier ion selective electrode (ISE). A lab protocol provides more detailed descriptions of the steps in the process as well as all the required materials and equipment for the test.
  9. 2017-02-09 Dr. Roy Beckford presented findings from a research project that investigated an intervention strategy. The first goal was to determine the practicability of rebuilding soil horizons on eroded parent soils using blends of biochar and compost to create anthroposols, through a process called ‘...
  10. 2013-12-20 Soil quality, also known as soil health, is the capacity of the soil to function – how well it fills the roles we need it to, whether in a natural or managed ecosystem. A variety of measures are used to gauge soil health; although we can use these characteristics as indicators of soil quality,...
  11. ISRIC – World Soil Information has a mission to serve the international community as custodian of global soil information. We are striving to increase awareness and understanding of soils in major global issues.
  12. A global consortium has been formed that aims to make a new digital soil map of the world using state-of-the-art and emerging technologies for soil mapping and predicting soil properties at fine resolution.This new global soil map will be supplemented by interpretation and functionality options...
  13. The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of theIUSSare to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information forIUSSmembers...
  14. TheInternational Union of Soil Science (IUSS)- at its Seventh Congress, at Madison, Wisconsin, USA, in 1960 - recommended that soil maps of continents and large regions be published. As a follow-upFAO and Unesco decided in 1961 to prepare a Soil Map of the World at 1:5 000 000 scale. The project...
  15. Healthy soils are the foundation of agriculture. In the face of mounting challenges such as a growing global population, climate change, and extreme weather events, soil health is critical to our future. Healthy soil is essential as global demands rise for food, fuel, and fiber. Soils also play a...
  16. Sustainable Agriculture for Small-Scale Growers in Nicaragua The mission ofBioNicais to provide training in Nicaragua on how to reclaim depleted soil –“Grow the Soil”– so the soil can grow nutritionally balanced crops. Participants include: 1) agricultural technicians working with...
  17. The Cornell Soil Health Assessment Training Manual: Provides an overview of the concept of soil health. Describes soil constraints and soil quality issues common to soils in New York and the Northeast region, especially in vegetable and field crop production systems. Provides guidelines on how to...
  18. Key Resource 2004-08-02 Amazon.com Description This fully revised and expanded edition of Fundamentals of Soil Ecology continues its holistic approach to soil biology and ecosystem function. Students and ecosystem researchers will gain a greater understanding of the central roles that soils play in ecosystem development...
  19. 2012-01-01 A question that we get asked at ECHO is “Are you an organic farm?” And the answer is “No. Because of our unique soils, climate and objectives, we do use herbicides, insecticides and mineral fertilizer as needed. At the same time, we aim to minimize our use of and reliance on expensive inputs.”...
  20. 1974-10-01 Soils play a critical role in meeting human food needs. Their conservation and wise use are essential today and will be even more critical in the future as population pressures increase. These pressures are already forcing the use of lands for food production that good judgment says should be...
  21. Key Resource 1991-03-01 This book looks as methodologies for screening soil-improving legumes such as how to replenish nitrogen, which is often the limiting nutrient to plan growth, farmers in many cultures grew green manures, living crops whose primary purpose was to add nitrogen or organic matter to the soil.
  22. Key Resource 1989-01-02 This book is a review of the potential of agroforestry for soil conservation, treated in its wider sense to include both control of erosion and maintenance of fertility. The objectives are: To summarize the present state of knowledge on agroforestry in soil conservation, including both known...
  23. Key Resource 2001-01-01 Food security in West Africa is challenged by complex issues, including rapid population growth, exploitation of nonrenewable resources, and chronic low soil fertility, but in this text experts from world agricultural institutions share their work to provide solutions. Topics covered include soil...
  24. Key Resource 2008-10-02 This practical handbook describes sampling and laboratory assessment methods for the biodiversity of a number of key functional groups of soil organisms, including insects, earthworms, nematodes, fungi and bacteria. The methods have been assembled and the protocols drafted by a number of...
  25. Key Resource 1996-09-01 Amazon.com Description Indigenous soil and water conservation practices are rarely acknowledged in the design of conventional development projects. Instead, the history of soil and water conservation in Africa has been one of imposing external solutions without regard for local practice. There is...
  26. 2012-01-01 Strong gradients of decreasing soil fertility are found in many regions of the world. Millions of smallholders are now facing this serious crisis which causes them lower crop yields, and many of these families also suffer from food insecurity. With the aim of promoting recovering soil fertility...
  27. 2005-10-01 One of the most important things a farmer can do for his farm is to prevent soil erosion. One way to do so is by keeping soil covered, especially during the rainy season. Vegetative cover and high levels of soil organic matter are key. Below is a brief description of several vegetative or...
  28. 2011-01-20 EDN 96, published in July 2007, featured an article by Danny Blank called “A Fresh Look at Life below the Surface.” The article, written after Danny attended a week-long workshop by Dr. Elaine Ingham, discussed composting and the importance of using it to build up the Soil Food Web—the community...
  29. 2017-02-15 This report describes and analyzes the soil distribution and characteristics of the main soil types in Mainland Southeast Asia (MSEA) that comprise the countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. This article is from ECHO Asia Note #30
  30. ABSTRACT - Journal of Composting Science and Utilization, 2017 Tropical acid soils are highly weathered as they exist under tropical environment with high rainfall and temperature throughout the year, which affects nitrogen availability. Soil organic nitrogen is important in estimating soil...
  31. AccessAgriculture Training Video In Kenya, small-scale farmers stabilise river banks and reduce rainwater runoff from nearby plots by planting trees and grasses.
  32. AccessAgriculture Video Introduction to sustainable land management practices which have a proven track record in Africa. They can help control land degradation and improve production for small scale farmers, despite the challenges of climate change.
  33. Plant and Soil publishes original research papers and solicited review articles that deal with the interface of plant biology and soil sciences, and are of general interest. We give preference to those manuscripts with a strong mechanistic component which develop and test hypotheses aimed at...
  34. ThisGlossary of Soil Science Termswas an ad hoc committee of the Soil Science of America to provide a single glossary of terms for the various disciplines of soil science.
  35. AccessAgriculture Training Video A 22-minute video to explain the importance of combining organic resources mineral fertilizer and improved varieties in ways that are adapted to local conditions. Practical examples are shown from various agro-ecological zones in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, DR Congo,...
  36. AccessAgriculture Training Video Onions have few roots and shallow roots and therefore can take up nutrients from the top soil only. This explains why it is crucial to pay particular attention to making your soil fertile when you want to grow onions. Arabic Bambara Bariba Dagbani Dendi English...
  37. AccessAgriculture Training Video Onions need rich, fertile soil. Only grow onions once in 3 years in the same field. Plant the onions on raised beds, especially in the rainy season. Transplant when the onions are about 6 weeks old. Plant the onions 10 centimetres apart. By taking good care of...
  38. AccessAgriculture Training Video In semi-arid West Africa, farmers and herders explain why and how trees and livestock play a crucial role in obtaining a productive soil and crop. In Niger and Ghana this is one of the strategies of integrated striga and soil fertility management that has a...
  39. AccessAgriculture Training Video To resolve the problems of poor soil fertility and to fight against the striga weed with limited means, some farmers in Niger apply micro-doses to their sorghum and millet crops. Compared to broadcasting, the localised application of micro-doses requires less...
  40. AccessAgriculture Training Video In this video you can learn all about nutrients, soil structure, organic matter and how to maintain fertile soil. All this will allow you to keep on cultivating your land and producing healthy crops. Ateso Chichewa English French Kiswahili Luganda Lugbara Luo...
  41. Regeneration International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to building a global network of farmers, scientists, businesses, activists, educators, journalists, governments and consumers who will promote and put into practice regenerative agriculture and land-use practices that: provide...
  42. 2018-11-08 Session: Climate uncertainty and environmental degradation cause deterioration in nutritional status of rural farm families throughout the tropics. Conservation Agriculture methods allow farmers to adapt to these challenges by building soil quality, lowering the risks of uncertain rainfall, and...
  43. Abstract, Ecology and Society, 2016 General knowledge of the small, invisible, or hidden organisms that make soil one of the most biodiverse habitats on Earth is thought to be scarce, despite their importance in food systems and agricultural production. We provide the first worldwide review of...
  44. 2014-01-20 A good book full of information about testing the quality of a soil by studying the plants associated with it.
  45. Abstract, Science Advances, 2018 August Agricultural and industrial activities have increased atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition to ecosystems worldwide. N deposition can stimulate plant growth and soil carbon (C) input, enhancing soil C storage. Changes in microbial decomposition could also...
  46. 2012-01-20 A great deal of learning and research has accumulated on integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) – but much of this has been in the form of technical, inaccessible reports. Presenting an essential summary of this body of work, this practical handbook provides an ideal resource for training...
  47. 2016-06-20 Chemically healthy soil has a rich base of the nutrients that plants require for growth, primarily nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus as well as elements such as zinc, copper, iron, chlorine, manganese, molybdenum and others, which are needed in small to very small amounts. These nutrients should...
  48. Key Resource 1975-01-01 This complete and informative text tells exactly how to get started in in the vermiculture business.
  49. Source: FAO-UNESCO, Soil Map of the World, digitized by ESRI. Soil climate map, USDA-NRCS, Soil Science Division, World Soil Resources, Washington D.C. Data Aggregation and Reliability: Conversion of the FAO Soil Map of the World to Soil Taxonomy requiring assigning a Suborder to every...
  50. Abstract , 1997 Soil is the habitat of plant roots and of a diverse array of organisms-bacteria, fungi, protozoa and invertebrate animals -which contribute to the maintenance and productivity of agroecosystems. As intensification occurs, the regulation of functions through soil biodiversity is...
  51. 2001-04-20 Soil acidity, or low pH, limits plant growth in many parts of the world. Although low pH can harm plants in many ways, this article will deal only with one of these factors, aluminum (Al) toxicity.Al is the third most abundant element on the earth (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant...
  52. Key Resource 1977-01-01 This complete and informative text tells exactly how to get started in this fascinating and profitable vermiculture business.
  53. AccessAgriculture Training Video In this video, we will learn about a solution that boosts the crop’s growth, and at the same time protects the crop from pests and diseases. Soil contains many kinds of living things, including microbes that enrich the soil, and protect plants from diseases....
  54. Key Resource 2002-01-01 Acidification of soil is a natural process with major ramifications on plant growth. As soils become more acid, particularly when the pH drops below 4.5, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce food crops. As soil pH declines, the supply of most plant nutrients decreases while aluminum and a...
  55. Key Resource 2009-01-20 All plants need certain mineral elements for proper growth, development, and maintenance. The basic structure of all organisms is built of carbon (C), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H). Plants obtain these elements from water (H2O) in the soil and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, so no input is...
  56. 2018-02-06 Speaker Bio: Dr. Tom Thompson is Associate Dean and Director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Professor of Agronomy at Virginia Tech. He earned B.S. , M.S. , and Ph.D. degrees in agronomy and soil science. He was an academic department head at two...
  57. The Journal of Soil Science and Environmental Management (JSSEM)is a peer reviewed journal. The journal is published per article and covers all areasof the subject such as: Biological control of rot-inducing fungi Post harvest losses of rice from harvesting to milling Genetic variability studies...
  58. 1976-01-19 "A Wiley-Interscience publication." The proper management of soils in the tropics is one of the critical and least understood components in the worldwide race between food production and population growth. This book compiles the available information on properties and management of tropical...
  59. 2017-10-03 Soils of smallholder farmers are often depleted of organic matter and available soil nutrients, and may also be acidic and/or saline. We will review the causes and extent of these soil-related challenges in the developing world. A variety of possible management responses to these challenges will...
  60. Easy Low-Maintenance tips and techniques for Building Healthy Soil, Making Compost, Wiping out Weeds, Stopping Pests, Beating Disease, Growing and Harvesting healthy vegetables and fruits plus Growing beautiful perennials, herbs bulbs, annuals, vines and more.
  61. 2018-10-31 This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 36. Soil chemical, physical, and biological properties range from those highly favorable to plant growth to those highly unfavorable to plant growth. It is rare—especially in the tropics—to find a soil in its natural state in which all properties are highly...
  62. 2011-01-20
  63. Key Resource 2000-01-20 Soil Biology Primer Authors: Dr. Elaine Ingham Andrew R. Moldenke & Clive A. Edwards Limited Availibility online. Buy it here NOW!! For farmers, ranchers, ag professionals, resource specialists, conservationists, soil scientists, students and educators. The Soil Biology Primer is an...
  64. 2018-11-15 This hands-on workshop will include making and applying two natural farming products. First, we will make a small batch of indigenous microorganism (IMO) parent culture and show what it looks like to step it up to a liquid. Then we will apply IMO liquid to treat the deep litter pig system....
  65. 2018-10-31 This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 36. Soil chemical, physical, and biological properties range from those highly favorable to plant growth to those highly unfavorable to plant growth. It is rare—especially in the tropics—to find a soil in its natural state in which all properties are highly...
  66. 2015-01-20 The main objectives of The State of the World’s Soil Resources are: (a) to provide a global scientific assessment of current and projected soil conditions built on regional data analysis and expertise; (b) to explore the implications of these soil conditions for food security, climate change,...
  67. 2019-02-13 Session: Soil degradation and rapid change are faced across Africa, and require attention to both old and new technologies. Over two decades of action research with farmers in Malawi has shown that smallholder food production and nutrition can be improved through biological principles and...
  68. 2012-04-10 Dirt, soil, call it what you want―it's everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it's no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of...
  69. 2007-01-17 John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Saint Phocas, Darwin, and Virgil parade through this thought-provoking work, taking their place next to the dung beetle, the compost heap, dowsing, historical farming, and the microscopic biota that till the soil. Whether William Bryant Logan is traversing the far...
  70. 2048-01-19 (2 copies) Fundamental principles which underlie successful farming and gardening and, more important still, our health. “Is our health related to the soil?” the author asks. Although this may seem a radical question, the author presents evidence in abundance to show how closely plant growth is...
  71. 2018-09-02 A brief video ofChris McDonoughdescribing the issues of soil erosion in black cracking clay soils in Tanzania, showing the importance of conservation farming techniques to help overcome this.
  72. 2008-10-20 When a legume is growing in its native habitat, it is likely that the appropriate bacteria are present in the soil. If nodules are present on the roots, especially along the taproot near the crown, and if the nodules are pink or red inside, then an appropriate bacterial strain is living in the...
  73. Founded by Dr. Elaine Ingham in 1996,Soil Foodweb Incis dedicated to changing the way the world grows food and how humans treat the Earth's soils. The Soil Foodweb Approach has been used on over 5 Million acres worldwide to dramatically reduce input costs, increase yields and to sequester soil...
  74. Key Resource
    2019-05-21 Smallholder farmers around the world face some of the harshest growing conditions globally, yet they produce the majority of the world’s food. Soils in these areas often lack nutrient and water holding capacities, due to erosion or poor soil structure. These obstacles can be staggering for...
  75. Healthy soil is the foundation for profitable, productive, and environmentally sound agricultural systems. By understanding how the soil processes that support plant growth and regulate environmental quality are affected by management practices, it is possible to design a crop and soil management...
  76. The online Soil Biology Primer is an introduction to the living component of soil and how it contributes to agricultural productivity and air and water quality. The Primer includes chapters describing the soil food web and its relationship to soil health and chapters about soil bacteria, fungi,...
  77. Small holder farmers in Africa do not currently have access to fast and reliable soil testing services, and as a result lack the necessary soil information to purchase the correct inputs for increasing their yields. To meet this need in Kenya, we have developed a professional Soil Testing and SMS...
  78. 2013-12-20 Soil quality, also known as soil health, is the capacity of the soil to function – how well it fills the roles we need it to, whether in a natural or managed ecosystem. A variety of measures are used to gauge soil health; although we can use these characteristics as indicators of soil quality,...
  79. 2007-07-20 This article takes a fresh look at what is going on in the soil, especially in relation to soil organic matter and the organisms it supports; how this life in the soil is impacted by our land care practices; and how it in turn impacts the productivity of our farms.
  80. 1985-01-01 Green manure crops are crops that are [often times in North America] grown to be turned under to increase soil fertility. Leguminous green manure crops ( i.e., those which can make nitrogen fertilizers from atmospheric nitrogen) can offer small-scale Third World farmers a tremendous number of...
  81. This article is from ECHO Asia Note #17 Around the world, many agriculturists and gardeners are adopting soil amendments and fertilizers that are called bokashi. Bokashi is a Japanese word that has no good translation into English, according to Yukiko Oyanagi, a staffer with the Asian Rural...
  82. 2019-05-02 Session:Soil degradation and rapid change are faced across Africa, and require attention to both old and new technologies. Over two decades of action research with farmers in Malawi has shown that smallholder food production and nutrition can be improved through biological principles and targeted...
  83. 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...

Tags

Soil