Thursday, 20 June 2013
Potential crisis in soil nutrient depletion (#journal)
We explore the global extent of the problem, with specific emphasis on the failure of macronutrient management (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus) to deliver continued improvements in yield and the failure of agriculture to recognise the seriousness of micronutrient depletion (e.g. copper, zinc, selenium).
This study advocates that agricultural sustainability can only be accomplished using a whole-systems approach that thoroughly considers nutrient stocks, removals, exports and recycling. Society needs to socially and environmentally re-engineer agricultural systems at all scales. It is suggested that this will be best realised by national-scale initiatives. Failure to do so will lead to an inevitable and rapid decline in the delivery of provisioning services within agricultural systems.