Toward Conservation Agriculture for Improving Soil Biodiversity

Authored by: Sharmistha Pal , B. B. Basak

Applied Agricultural Practices for Mitigating Climate Change

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367345297
eBook ISBN: 9780429326400
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/9780429326400-12

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Abstract

Conservation agriculture (CA) is the generic term used to define a set of farming practices designed to enhance the sustainability of food and agriculture production by conserving and protecting the available soil, water, and biological resources such that the need for external inputs can be kept minimal (Garcıa-Torres et al., 2003). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO; CA website, 2004) has defined CA as a system based on minimal soil disturbance (no-till, minimum tillage) and permanent soil cover (mulch, crop residue) combined with diversified rotations with legumes. Similarly, “conservation tillage” (CT) refers to a set of practices adopted by modern plough-based conventional tillage to enhance water infiltration and reduce erosion risk. CT is commonly applied to no-tillage, direct drilling, or minimum tillage practices when associated with a cover of crop residues on at least 30% of the soil surface, and when associated with some conservation goals such as the conservation of time, fuel, earthworms, soil water, and nutrients (Baker et al., 2002). CA (Figure 12.1) being referred to as “resource-efficient” agriculture, thus contributes to environmental conservation as well as enhanced and sustained agricultural production (Garcıa-Torres et al., 2003).

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