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Soil Conditions and Plant Growth

Peter J. Gregory (Editor), Stephen Nortcliff (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-33728-8 December 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 472 Pages


Building on the extremely successful and popular Russell’s Soil Conditions and Plant Growth, Wiley-Blackwell is pleased to publish this completely revised and updated edition of the soil science classic. Covering all aspects of the interactions between plant and soil, Peter Gregory and Stephen Nortcliff, along with their team of internationally-known and respected authors, provide essential reading for all students and professionals studying and working in agriculture and soil science.

Subject areas covered range from crop science and genetics; soil fertility and organic matter; nitrogen and phosphoros cycles and their management; properties and management of plant nutrients; water and the soil physical environment and its management; plants and change processes in soils; management of the soil/plant system; and new challenges including food, energy and water security in a changing environment.

Providing a very timely account on how better to understand and manage the many interactions that occur between soils and plants, Soil Conditions and Plant Growth is sure to become the book of choice - as a recommended text for students and as an invaluable reference for those working or entering into the industry. An essential purchase for all universities and research establishments where agricultural, soil, and environmental sciences are studied and taught.

Contributors viii

Preface x

1 The historical development of studies on soil–plant interactions 1
Stephen Nortcliff and Peter J. Gregory

1.1 Introduction 1

1.2 The search for the ‘principle’ of vegetation, 1630–1750 2

1.3 The search for plant nutrients 4

1.4 The beginnings of soil microbiology 10

1.5 The development and application of modern knowledge of soils 13

References 20

2 Plant and crop science 22
Sayed Azam-Ali

2.1 Introductory principles of resource capture by crops 22

2.2 Growth and development 23

2.3 Solar radiation 27

2.4 Water 32

2.5 Integrating principles of resource capture by crops 42

2.6 Conclusion 45

References 46

3 Soil fertility 49
Elizabeth A. Stockdale, Keith W.T. Goulding, Timothy S. George, and Daniel V. Murphy

3.1 Introduction 49

3.2 Concepts of soil fertility 50

3.3 Plant–soil interactions determining soil fertility 57

3.4 Assessing soil fertility 62

3.5 Managing soil fertility 72

References 79

4 Soil organic matter 86
David Powlson, Pete Smith, and Maria De Nobili

4,1 Introduction 86

4.2 Factors influencing SOM content 88

4.3 Modelling SOM dynamics 93

4.4 Chemical structure of SOM as elucidated using new forms of spectroscopy – advances and pitfalls 100

4.5 Organo-mineral interactions 108

4.6 Fractionation methods for studying SOM 111

4.7 The living part of SOM – the soil microbial biomass 115

4.8 SOM and soil physical conditions and implications for plant growth 116

4.9 Soil C and climate change 120

References 126

5 Nitrogen and phosphorus cycles and their management 132
Phil M. Haygarth, Richard D. Bardgett, and Leo M. Condron

5.1 Introduction 132

5.2 Sources of nitrogen and phosphorus to soil-plant systems 134

5.3 Chemical and biological processes of nutrient cycling, transformations and bioavailability 137

5.4 Processes of nitrogen and phosphorus losses from soils 145

5.5 Nitrogen and phosphorus use in agricultural systems 149

5.6 Future soil nutrient cycles and environmental change 153

References 155

6 Properties and management of cationic elements for crop growth 160
Philip J. White and Duncan J. Greenwood

6.1 The movement of essential cationic elements to the root surface 160

6.2 Cationic elements in plants 163

6.3 The uptake of essential cationic elements from the rhizosphere 169

6.4 Cationic elements in the soil solution 173

6.5 Management practices increasing the acquisition of essential mineral cations 180

6.6 Genetic strategies to improve the efficiency of acquisition and physiological use of essential cationic elements 183

6.7 Concluding remarks 186

References 187

7 Managing adverse soil chemical environments 195
Mark E. Hodson and Erica Donner

7.1 Potentially toxic metals (PTMs) 195

7.2 Salt-affected soils (saline, sodic and saline-sodic soils) 206

7.3 Acid and alkaline soils 218

References 228

8 Managing the soil physical environment for plants 238
Paul D. Hallett and A. Glyn Bengough

8.1 Introduction 238

8.2 Basic physical properties of soil 238

8.3 Soil structure 241

8.4 Soil tilth and seedbeds 249

8.5 Critical soil physical conditions for plant growth 257

References 261

9 Soil water and its management 269
Anne Verhoef and Gregorio Egea

9.1 Soil water management – a general overview 269

9.2 Key concepts related to water in soil 270

9.3 Soil water and plants 281

9.4 Determination of soil water balance and related variables 288

9.5 Water management to alleviate soil water shortage 298

9.6 Water management to alleviate excess water 308

References 312

10 Plant-induced changes in soil processes and properties 323
Philippe Hinsinger

10.1 Introduction 323

10.2 Roles of plants in carbon cycling: deposition, burial and emission 324

10.3 Roles of plants in soil acidification 335

10.4 Roles of plants in the weathering of soil minerals 342

10.5 Conclusion 353

References 355

11 Sustainable management of soil and plant health by optimising soil biological function 366
Dominic Standing and Ken Killham

11.1 Introduction 366

11.2 Managing soil and plant health 368

11.3 Conclusion 386

References 386

12 Managing the soil–plant system for the delivery of ecosystem services 390
David W. Hopkins and Edward G. Gregorich

12.1 Introduction 390

12.2 Roles of soils 394

12.3 Sustainable soil use and soil quality 409

12.4 Concluding remarks 413

References 414

13 The new challenge – sustainable production in a changing environment 417
Peter J. Gregory and Stephen Nortcliff

13.1 Introduction 417

13.2 Human-induced environmental change 418

13.3 Food security and food production 426

13.4 Routes to sustainable intensification 434

References 442

Index 449

A colour plate section falls between pages 214 and 215

“No doubt it will be bought by many libraries and should be of interest to those intending to specialise in soil science through a Masters course for example.”  (European Journal of Soil Science, 1 October 2013)

“The book is a superb foundation for in-depth class discussion. Summing Up: Highly recommended.  Students of all levels, researchers/faculty, and professionals/practitioners.”  (Choice, 1 October 2013)