Soil Fertility & Nutrient Management

Soils account for the largest terrestrial pool of carbon and have the potential for even greater quantities of carbon sequestration. Typical soil carbon (C) stocks used in global carbon models only account for the upper 1 meter of soil. Inorganic fertilizers are generally less expensive and have higher concentrations of nutrients than organic fertilizers. Also, since nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium generally must be in the inorganic forms to be taken up by plants, inorganic fertilizers are generally immediately bioavailable to plants without modification. Continuous use of acidic or salty synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides disrupts the delicate balance between the three components of soil fertility. Competing land uses and extensive degradation are rapidly depleting the amounts of soils and water available for food production. Technologies in soil remediation or soil washing are being developed to remove anthropogenic contaminants from soils in an effort to benefit commercial agriculture and wild flora and fauna. Soil is the basis for agriculture and farming.