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Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2796-2801; doi:10.3390/su5062796
Review

Soil Fertility Management a Century Ago in Farmers of Forty Centuries

Department of Plant Biology & Pathology, Rutgers, The State University of NJ, 59 Dudley Road-Foran Hall, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
Received: 18 April 2013 / Revised: 18 May 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
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Abstract

Published just over a century ago, Farmers of Forty Centuries or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan, served to document the viability and productivity of traditional agricultural systems that relied on composting, and complete recycling of all types of natural waste materials, as a means of sustaining soil fertility. This cardinal rule of waste management and organic soil husbandry became known as “the law of return” to organic farming. With regards to nutrient management, organic farming methods uses restorative cultural practices that include the law of return principle which encourages the closure of nutrient cycles. In these respects, organic farming methods are arguably more firmly grounded in ecology and sustainability than the promotions of the chemical fertilizer industry which has largely displaced traditional soil fertility practices. Farmers of Forty Centuries is a classic with valuable lessons and experience to offer towards teaching modern concepts in sustainable agriculture.
Keywords: China; Korea; Japan; sustainability; permanent agriculture; organic farming; soil fertility; livestock and human manure; law of return; F.H. King China; Korea; Japan; sustainability; permanent agriculture; organic farming; soil fertility; livestock and human manure; law of return; F.H. King
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Heckman, J.R. Soil Fertility Management a Century Ago in Farmers of Forty Centuries. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2796-2801.

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