The Science behind Healthy Soil: NRCS Launches Soil Health Literature Review Project

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The Science behind Healthy Soil: NRCS Launches Soil Health Literature Review Project

USDA NRCS Soil Health Literature Review Project, developed to support the science based approach to NRCS’ soil health initiative, was recently launched and made available to both the public and USDA employees. “As world population and food production demands rise, keeping the nation’s soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance, said Dave Hoover, National Leader for Soils Business Systems. “So much so that we believe improving the health of our Nation’s soil is one of the most important conservation endeavors of our time.” NRCS efforts on behalf of healthy soil result in an increase in crop production and profitability while improving the environment. Positive results are often realized within the first year of implementing soil health management systems and last well into the future.

NRCS' Soil Health Literature Review Project provides the scientific underpinning for the Agency's soil health initiative by providing more than 180 peer-reviewed journal articles focused on the impact of conservation practices on soil’s physical and chemical properties important for soil health. While the literature review project currently addresses soil physical properties and to a limited extent, chemical properties, biological properties and economic impacts are targeted for future summary and inclusion in the project. The peer-reviewed articles are not exhaustive, and the USDA employee SharePoint provides the ability for staff to submit a journal article to be included in the literature review.

The Literature Review Project involves both a public Web site and the USDA employee SharePoint. The sites provide access to a searchable database of journal references related to physical and chemical soil health properties and conservation practices.

All literature review users, whether public or USDA, are provided access to short summaries of each article and an interactive matrix for displaying journal article citations sorted/filtered by common conservation practices, soil properties, irrigated or dry land management, moisture and temperature regimes, and other items. USDA employees have access to peer reviewed papers on the USDA employee SharePoint.

The 2014 Soil Health Literature Review Project is a collaborative project involving NRCS' Soil Science and Resource Assessment and Science and Technology Deputy Areas.

The public can access the Soil Health Literature Review Project at:

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/home/?cid=STELPRDB1257753