Starting with a review of the physical, chemical and biological indicators of soil health and their significance for monitoring the impacts of climate change, this book then focuses on describing the role of soil structure, pH, organic matter, nitrogen, respiration and biota in sustaining the basic functions of soil ecosystems, and their anticipated responses to climate change. Further topics include the management of cropping, pastoral, and forestry systems, and rehabilitated mine sites, with a focus on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change impacts. Finally, the opportunities and potential risks of organic farming, biochar and bioenergy systems, and their ability to sustain and even enhance soil health, are discussed.
In eight concise chapters, Soil Quality and Biofuel Production presents a state-of-the-knowledge review of soil properties and processes negatively impacted by crop residue removal. It outlines the ecological consequences of biofuels and evaluates land use in the production of raw material for biofuel. The book then spotlights pressing issues related to corn and cellulosic ethanol and also soil erosion. It offers advice for achieving economic balance in the competition for arable land between food and biofuel along with residue harvest management techniques. A thought-provoking discussion of the opportunities and challenges that biofuel presents rounds out the book’s coverage.
The logistics of producing biomass in a sustainable manner remain a major challenge and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Serious questions linger concerning viable sources of biofuel feedstock, competition for resources needed to produce biomass, and energy output/input ratios. Soil Quality and Biofuel Production provides environmental scientists and agricultural engineers with the knowledge they need to address them.