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Soil and Crop Management Strategies to Ensure Higher Crop Productivity within Sustainable Environments

by Farooq Shah 1,2 and Wei Wu 1,*
1
College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
2
Department of Agriculture, Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, 23200 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1485; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051485
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 3 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 March 2019 / Published: 11 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
The rising population and reduction in the amount of land and some other resources have created tremendous pressure on current agricultural producers to meet the increasing food demands. To cope with this challenge, certain key inputs, such as fertilizers and other chemicals, are overused, which are worsening the surroundings. This intensive agricultural production without adherence to ecological sustainability has led to declining soil health, land degradation, and severe environmental problems. So, future efforts to feed the growing population should aim for greater agricultural production within sustainable environments. In this regard, innovative steps are needed, as business-as-usual policies lack the potential to cope with these challenges. The concept of agricultural sustainability and various soil and crop management strategies (SCMS) that have been designed to optimize crop yield under sustainable environmental conditions are discussed, including nutrient management, site specific nutrient management (SSNM), integrated nutrient management (INM), integrated soil fertility management (ISFM), integrated soil-crop system management (ISSM), ridge-furrow mulching systems (RFMS), sustainable water management (SWM), conservation agriculture (CA), sustainable land management (SLM), vertical/sky farming, and integrated crop management, and breeding strategies as well as other approaches combined with technological and behavioural changes. The present review suggests that a sustainable production system can be developed by combining the multifaceted efforts under SCMS practices with short- and long-term preventive measures. Reducing chemicals’ usage, such as that of fertilizers and pesticides, plus improvements in the crop input use efficiency could minimize greenhouse gases emissions while protecting the environment. Sustainable agriculture holds promise for humankind and the planet Earth, and it can be successful if all developed and developing nations stand together to seek ‘our common future’ to produce more food while generating less environmental pressure. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural sustainability; soil tillage; land degradation; soil erosion; greenhouse gas emissions agricultural sustainability; soil tillage; land degradation; soil erosion; greenhouse gas emissions
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Shah, F.; Wu, W. Soil and Crop Management Strategies to Ensure Higher Crop Productivity within Sustainable Environments. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1485.

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