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This multi-contributor, international volume synthesizes contributions from the world's leading soil scientists and ecologists, describing cutting-edge research that provides a basis for the maintenance of soil health and sustainability. The book covers these advances from a unique perspective of examining the ecosystem services produced by soil biota across different scales - from biotic interactions at microscales to communities functioning at regional and global scales. The book leads the user towards an understanding of how the sustainability of soils, biodiversity, and ecosystem services can be maintained and how humans, other animals, and ecosystems are dependent on living soils and ecosystem services.
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About the author

The Editor-in-Chief, Diana H. Wall, is University Distinguished Professor and Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. Diana is actively engaged in research exploring how nematode and other invertebrate diversity contributes to healthy, productive soils and thus to society, and the consequences of human activities on soil globally. Her 20+ years research in the Antarctic Dry Valleys follows the response of soil organisms and ecosystem processes to environmental change, and in Africa she examines biodiversity in fertile and degraded soils. She served as President of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Intersociety Consortium for Plant Protection, the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, and the Society of Nematologists. Diana received her BA and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, Lexington and is a Professor of Biology and a Senior Scientist, Natural Research Ecology Laboratory. The Section Editors, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten, are all leading researchers in this field.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Jun 14, 2012
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Pages
424
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ISBN
9780191632563
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Environmental Science
Science / Life Sciences / Ecology
Technology & Engineering / Agriculture / Agronomy / Soil Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Soils have important roles to play in criminal and environmental forensic science. Since the initial concept of using soil in forensic investigations was mooted by Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Holmes stories prior to real-world applications, this branch of forensic science has become increasingly sophisticated and broad. New techniques in chemical, physical, biological, ecological and spatial analysis, coupled with informatics, are being applied to reducing areas of search by investigators, site identification, site comparison and measurement for the eventual use as evidence in court. Soils can provide intelligence, in assisting the determination of the provenance of samples from artifacts, victims or suspects, enabling their linkage to locations or other evidence. They also modulate change in surface or buried cadavers and hence affect the ability to estimate post-mortem or post-burial intervals, and locate clandestine graves. This interdisciplinary volume explores the conceptual and practical interplay of soil and geoforensics across the scientific, investigative and legal fields. Supported by reviews, case-studies from across the world, and reports of original research, it demonstrates the increasing convergence of a wide range of knowledge. It covers conceptual issues, evidence (from recovery to use in court), geoforensics, taphonomy, as well as leading-edge technologies. The application of the resultant soil forensics toolbox is leading to significant advances in improving crime detection, and environmental and national security.
Vegetables, fruits, and grains are a major source of vital nutrients, but centuries of intensive agriculture have depleted our soils to historic lows. As a result, the broccoli you consume today may have less than half of the vitamins and minerals that the equivalent serving would have contained a hundred years ago. This is a matter for serious concern, since poor nutrition has been linked to myriad health problems including cancer, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. For optimum health we must increase the nutrient density of our foods to the levels enjoyed by previous generations.

To grow produce of the highest nutritional quality the essential minerals lacking in our soil must be replaced, but this re-mineralization calls for far more attention to detail than the simple addition of composted manure or NPK fertilizers. The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process while simultaneously debunking much of the false and misleading information perpetuated by both the conventional and organic agricultural movements. In doing so, it conclusively establishes the link between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people.

This practical step-by-step guide and the accompanying customizable web-based spreadsheets go beyond organic and are essential tools for any serious gardener who cares about the quality of the produce they grow.

Steve Solomon is the author of several landmark gardening books including Gardening When it Counts and Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. The founder of the Territorial Seed Company, he has been growing most of his family's food for over thirty-five years.


Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices—and, especially, modern industrial agriculture—have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world's soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming.

As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air—an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries—scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers—who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
While soil ecologists continue to be on the forefront of research on biodiversity and ecosystem function, there are few interdisciplinary studies that incorporate ecological knowledge into sustainable land management practices. Conventional, high fossil-fuel input-based agricultural systems can reduce soil biodiversity, alter soil community structure and nutrient cycling, and lead to greater dependence on energy-intensive practices.

Microbial Ecology in Sustainable Agroecosystems brings together soil ecologists, microbial ecologists, and agroecologists working globally to demonstrate how research in soil ecology can contribute to the long-term sustainability of agricultural systems. The book identifies five key areas of research that can be combined to support and direct sustainable land management practices: agriculture, biodiversity, ecosystem services, integrated soil ecology research, and policy.

Topics include:

A broad range of soil microbial processes in terms of the importance of microbial heterogeneity Inputs by soil microorganisms into wheat-farming systems The importance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in making nutrients more available to crops The benefits and environmental problems associated with the use of crops genetically modified with Bacillus thuringiensis The incorporation of soil ecological or microbial ecological theory into agricultural practice to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability Challenges in sustainable agricultural research and the need for coalescing new avenues of research in agriculture and soil ecology

The contributors range from long-time ecological researchers to graduate students and early career scientists, representing a wide spectrum of experience, ages, diversity, and research interests in this area. They cover the diversity and complexity of microbial activity and interactions in soil systems and the many ways in which microorganisms may be manipulated and managed to improve the functions of crop rhizospheres and thereby maximize crop yields and overall productivity. These recommendations can be used to direct and influence agricultural and environmental policy and guide future research in sustainable agricultural systems management.

Soils have important roles to play in criminal and environmental forensic science. Since the initial concept of using soil in forensic investigations was mooted by Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Holmes stories prior to real-world applications, this branch of forensic science has become increasingly sophisticated and broad. New techniques in chemical, physical, biological, ecological and spatial analysis, coupled with informatics, are being applied to reducing areas of search by investigators, site identification, site comparison and measurement for the eventual use as evidence in court. Soils can provide intelligence, in assisting the determination of the provenance of samples from artifacts, victims or suspects, enabling their linkage to locations or other evidence. They also modulate change in surface or buried cadavers and hence affect the ability to estimate post-mortem or post-burial intervals, and locate clandestine graves. This interdisciplinary volume explores the conceptual and practical interplay of soil and geoforensics across the scientific, investigative and legal fields. Supported by reviews, case-studies from across the world, and reports of original research, it demonstrates the increasing convergence of a wide range of knowledge. It covers conceptual issues, evidence (from recovery to use in court), geoforensics, taphonomy, as well as leading-edge technologies. The application of the resultant soil forensics toolbox is leading to significant advances in improving crime detection, and environmental and national security.
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