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Soil Health and Environmental Management for Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems

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Rattan Lal

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Soil Health and Environmental Management for Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems

  1. 1. 1 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center Soil Health and Environmental Management for Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems Rattan Lal Carbon Management and Sequestration Center The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio
  2. 2. 2 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center -38 18,000 BC6,000 BC 14,000 BC10,000 BC2,000 BCAD 2,000 -42 -40 -36 -34 Warm & Wet Cold & Dry δ18(0%) 8,000 BC Beginning of Agriculture 1750 Industrial Revolution EARTH’S HISTORIC TEMPERATURE AND THE EVOLUTION OF AGRICULTURE (Fagan, 2004) Time THE LONG SUMMER Anthropocene
  3. 3. 3 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center THE ANTHROPOGENIC DRIVER I = P x A x T P = Population A = Affluence T = Technology Over the last 10,000 years, the number of humans has increased about a thousand-fold from 2- 20 million to 7.3 billion. 1.0 1800 1.3 1850 1.7 1900 1.8 1910 1.9 1920 2.1 1930 2.3 1940 2.5 1950 3.0 1960 3.7 1970 4.4 19805.3 1990 6.1 2000 7.0 2011 7.5 2020 8.1 2030 8.6 2040 9.7 2050 11.2 2100
  4. 4. 4 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center People living in water-stressed river basins: 2000 = 2.3 bn 2025 = 3.5 bn Scarce Water Resources: Ogalalla, IGP, NCP, etc. HUMAN-ECOSYSTEM INTERACTIONS Population 2015 – 7.3B 2050 – 9.7B 2100 – 11.2B Soil Erosion Water = 1.1Bha Wind = 0.55Bha Secondary Salinization 20% of all irrigated lands Algal Blooms Regions: Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, Lake Taihu in China, Baltic Sea etc. Loss of Agric. Land to Sealing and Urbanization By 2030, global urban land cover will increase by 152 Mha or 10% of current arable land area Loss of Biodiversity 1000 to 10,000 sp./yr, background rate of 5 sp./yr Tropical Deforestation 1990s = 8 Mha/yr 2000s = 7.6 Mha/yr A region equivalent to Sri Lanka Loss of Terrestrial C Pool Land Use = 486 Pg Soil = 78 Pg www.nrcs.usda.govwww.soils4teachers.orgLal (2015) thewatchers.adorraeli.comwww.emaze.comwww.sustainableworks.org
  5. 5. 5 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center THE RESOURCES USED FOR AGRICULTURE • 38% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface is used for agriculture, • 75% of agricultural land (3.73 Bha) is allocated to raising animals, • 70% of the global freshwater withdrawals are used for irrigation, • 30-35% of global greenhouse gas emissions are contributed by agriculture, And yet 1 in 7 persons is food-insecure and 2-3 in 7 are malnourished.
  6. 6. 6 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center MEETING FOOD DEMAND BY 2050 The world produces enough food to feed 10 billion people . Thus, food and nutritional security must be achieved by: • Reducing waste (30-50%), • Increasing access to food by addressing poverty, inequality, wars and political instability, • Improving distribution, • Increasing use of pulses and plant-based diet, • Accepting personal responsibility of not taking things for granted, and • Increasing agronomic productivity from existing land, restoring degraded lands, enhancing BNF by legumes and converting some agricultural land for nature conservancy without any conversion of natural land to agro-ecosystems,through sustainable intensification sustainable intensification
  7. 7. 7 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center Resilience of Soil-Ecological Systems It has multiple regimes (stable states) which are separated by thresholds Thresholds Critical Threshold The current state of the system Possible states in which the system can still have the same function Irreversible Degradation Resilience Regime Shift
  8. 8. 8 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center • Extractive Farming/Subsistence • Depletion of SOC and Nutrients • Decline in Soil Structure • Loss of Soil Resilience • Decline in Ecosystem Functions and Services • Loss of Soil biodiversity • Disruption of Key Processes • Hunger • Malnutrition • Political Unrest • Civil Strife • War and insecurity • The Migrant Crisis Severe Degradation THE REGIME SHIFT BY EXTRACTIVE FARMING
  9. 9. 9 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center • Replace what is removed, • Respond wisely to what is changed, and • Predict what will happen from anthropogenic and natural perturbations SUSTAINABLE SOIL MANAGEMENT
  10. 10. 10 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center The strategy is to produce more crops: • from less land, • per drop of water, • per unit input of fertilizers and pesticides, • per unit of energy, and • per unit of C emission. Produce more from less SUSTAINABLE INTENSIFICATION
  11. 11. 11 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center MOST IMPORTANT THINGS CANNOT BE MEASURED BUT MUST BE MANAGED (Edward Demmings) Therefore, question is not "What is there in the soil that can be measured, but what it does which must be quantified "? & What it does is "soil quality".
  12. 12. 12 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center SOIL QUALITY Soil quality is a journey and not a destination, Because a destination keeps changing with demands of each generation.
  13. 13. 13 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center “The first step in the science of agriculture is the recognition of soils and of how to distinguish that which is of good quality and that which is of inferior quality. He who does not possess this knowledge lacks the first principles and deserves to be regarded as ignorant”. (Vol. 1, p. 23) “One must also take into consideration the depth of the soil, for it often happens that its surface layer may be black.” (Vol. 1, p. 336) a Moorish Philosopher wrote in the “Book on Agriculture” during the 12th century: KITAB-AL-FELAHA
  14. 14. 14 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center PULSES & SDGS • Soil restoration • Human Nutrition • Climate Mitigation Chemical • Recycling nutrients • Soil pH • CEC • Elemental balance Biological • BNF • MBC • SOC • Disease- suppressive soils • Soil enzymes • Biodiversity (earthworms) Physical Improving: • Aggregation (glomalin) • Porosity • Tilth (biopores) • Aeration Soil Health
  15. 15. 15 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center BNF BY PULSE CROPS • 50-80% of N uptake in legumes comes from BNF. Pulse Crop BNF (kg/ha) Schoenau (2016) Lentil 30-120 Chickpea 20-100 Dry Bean 5-70 Faba Bean 80-160
  16. 16. 16 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center BNF BY CROP LEGUMES • BNF by crop legumes is estimated at 20-22 Tg N/yr • Residue of pulses (chickpea, lentil) has a lower C:N ratio (17) compared with 41 for oilseed and 32 for wheat. • Thus, pulse in the rotation can impact soil health
  17. 17. 17 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center WUE OF SORGHUM FOLLOWING DIFFERENT CROPS IN QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA Θ at planting sorghum was the lowest in plots previously sown to siratro and lucerne, and the highest in sorghum and mungbean. Treatment N Fertilizer WUE (kg grain/ha ×mm) 1995 1996 1997 Sorghum 7.0 6.0 4.7 Mungbean 11.2 14.0 10.6 Siratro 10.3 11.8 12.1 Lucerne 9.0 10.5 7.2 Lablab 11.6 12.5 11.2 Desmanthus 11.0 10.3 5.8 LSD (.05) NS 3.7 3.3 Armstrong et al. (1999)
  18. 18. 18 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center “Soil biota is the bioengine of the Earth” There is no such thing as a free biofuel from crop residues. ECONOMICS OF RESIDUE REMOVAL FOR BIOFUEL
  19. 19. 19 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center NO-TILL FARMING AS AN EMERGING GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY
  20. 20. 20 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center PIGEON PEA F. SINGH AND D.L. OSWALT (1992) ICRISAT A stylized pigeonpea plant. Pigeon pea roots may extend >2m deep, with extensive development in 60 cm
  21. 21. 21 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center http://soilquality.org/indicators/soil_structure.html SOIL STRUCTURE, ROOTS & GLOMALIN
  22. 22. 22 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center Corn with no residues Corn with 100% residues Coschocton, 2012 Residues plowed under No-till with mulch IMPORTANCE OF SOM & CROP RESIDUES TO SOIL QUALITY & HEALTH All photos: R. Lal, Coschocton, OH 2012
  23. 23. 23 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center Tillage SOC Pool (Mg/ha, 0-20 cm) C Sequestration (kg/ha/yr)Initial Final No-till 32.7 A 37.3 A 657 Conventional 29.2 B 33.9 B 671 Average 30.9 35.6 Duration = 7 yrs comparison within column TILLAGE EFFECTS ON SOC POOL IN SETAT, MOROCCO (BESSAM AND MRABET, 2003)
  24. 24. 24 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center N, P, K, Zn, H2O TOWARDS C- NEUTRAL AGRICULTURE Chatting with plants through molecular- based signals No-till Farming INM Soil biota and ecosystems services
  25. 25. 25 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center GLOBAL POTENTIAL OF SOC SEQUESTRATION (Pg C/YR) Cropland: 0.4-1.2 Grazing land: 0.3-0.5 Salt-affected soils: 0.3-0.7 Desertified soils: 0.2-0.7 Total: 1.2-3.1 Lal (2010)
  26. 26. 26 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center GLOBAL SOIL ORGANIC CARBON POOL 0-40cm DEPTH Total Pool = 850 Gt .... Batjes (1996) 0.4% Increase/yr = 3.6 Gt C/yr OFF-SETTING OIL BY SOIL C SEQUESTRATION
  27. 27. 27 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center SOCIETAL VALUE OF SOC • Cost of Residue + Nutrients: $120/ MgC • Cost of Nutrients Only : $102/ MgC
  28. 28. 28 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center • Animal Power • Rotations • Sustainable intensification (SI) • Rhizospheric processes • Disease- suppressive soils • Soil-less agriculture • The nexus approach • Phytobiome management • Recarbon- ization of the biosphere • Nutrition- sensitive agriculture • SI Restorative Agriculture • Soil-less agriculture • Phytobiome management • Urban agriculture • Space farming TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS • Hand Tools GREENREVOLUTION Machinepower FertilizersGermplasm YEAR RELATIVEFOODPRODUCTION(Mg/ha) WORLD POPULATION (BILLIONS) 12 8 6 4 1 0.8 15 20 1750 1850 1950 1975 2000 2025 20502015 0.8 1 3 4 6 8 9.67.6 ConservationagricultureMicro-irrigation PrecisionfarmingPerennialculture ComplexrotationsGMOs  Improved cultivars  Biotech- nology  No-till farming  INM  IPM  Carbon sequestration
  29. 29. 29 Carbon Management and Sequestration Center 2015 - 2024 • Sustainable Intensification • Phytobiome Management • Disease-Suppressive Soils • Urban Farming • Space Agriculture • Recarbonization of the Soil & Biosphere • The Nexus Approach 2025 - 2050 • Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture • Pharmaceutical Products • Synthetic Soils • Soils of Extraterrestrial Bodies • Soil Processes & Hypogravity • Pedological Transformations & Climate Change Extraterrestrial Soils & Agriculture? Hypogravity Pedology? Sky Farming? Climate & Soil? Pharmaceuticals?

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