Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Organic farming benefits soil life (#journal)

Fourteen years of evidence for positive effects of conservation agriculture and organic farming on soil life

This article compares for the first time the long-term effects of conservation agriculture, organic farming, and conventional agriculture on major soil organisms such as microbes, nematofauna, and macrofauna. The authors also analyzed functional groups. Soils were sampled at a 14-year-old experimental site near Versailles, France. The microbial community was analyzed using molecular biology techniques. Results show that both conservation and organic systems hugely increased the abundance and biomass of almost all soil organisms; macrofauna increased from 100 to 2,500 %, nematodes from 100 to 700 %, and microorganisms from 30 to 70 %. Conservation agriculture showed a higher overall improvement than organic farming. Overall, the study shows that long-term, no-tillage, and cover crops are better for soil biota than periodic legume green manures, pesticides, and mineral fertilizers.


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