Special Issue "Soil Degradation Prevention and Restoration at Farm and Field Scale"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. E. A. C. Costantini
Website
Guest Editor
Academy of Georgofili, 50122 Florence, Italy; National Academy of Agriculture, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Interests: interactions between pedology; geomophology and agronomy; namely the study of the terroir effect components and the relationships between viticulture; wine quality, and soil functioning
Prof. Dr. Simone Priori
Website
Guest Editor
University of Tuscia, Department of Agriculture and Forest Sciences (DAFNE), Viterbo, Italy
Interests: pedology; digital soil mapping; proximal soil sensing; viticultural zoning; soil suitability for tree crops
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

It is commonly recognized that excessive exploitation or improper use of land has led many parts of the word to suffer the decline of the soil qualities and functioning that make the agroecosystem able to provide goods and services. It is estimated that degraded soils cover, to various extents, at least 24% of the global land. Preventing and restoring degraded soils is often underestimated or neglected. A key point is that soils vary so much between countries, regions, farms, and even individual fields that no single solution fits all cases, and therefore, solutions need to be tailored to each local condition—above all pedoclimate, land use, and management practices. On top of that, to ensure practices will be accepted by farmers, they must be adapted to the farming system (land use type, farm specialization, crop management, available machinery) and to the socioeconomic and cultural context, including farmers’ education and propensity for innovation. The multiplicity and dynamicity of drivers calls for a continuous development of research studies on soil degradation prevention and restoration.

This Special issue will focus on soil management solutions at the farm and field scale based on the understanding of degradation processes for different pedoclimatic conditions, land uses, and management systems. Experiences on the timing, effectiveness, and side-effects of the measures taken to contrast one or more processes will be an essential part of this Special issue. Evidence on win-win strategies to balance different and competing soil services, as well as socioeconomic, political, and cultural factors is welcome. Methodological approaches and tools applied in case studies are also welcome.

Dr. E. A. C. Costantini
Prof. Dr. Simone Priori
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • soil conservation
  • pedotechnique
  • soil fertility
  • land degradation
  • best practices
  • soil management
  • agro-environmental measures
  • socioeconomic sustainability
  • farmers’ perception
  • agro-ecosystem services

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Comparison among Different Rewetting Strategies of Degraded Agricultural Peaty Soils: Short-Term Effects on Chemical Properties and Ecoenzymatic Activities
Agronomy 2020, 10(8), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10081084 - 27 Jul 2020
Abstract
In 2013, a pilot experimental field of about 15 ha was set up within the basin of Lake Massaciuccoli (Tuscany, Italy) in order to compare different management strategies—a paludicultural system (PCS), a constructed wetland system (CWS), a nearly-natural wetland system (NWS)—for peatland restoration [...] Read more.
In 2013, a pilot experimental field of about 15 ha was set up within the basin of Lake Massaciuccoli (Tuscany, Italy) in order to compare different management strategies—a paludicultural system (PCS), a constructed wetland system (CWS), a nearly-natural wetland system (NWS)—for peatland restoration after almost a century of drainage-based agricultural use (CS). After five years, changes in peat soil quality were investigated from a chemical, biochemical, and ecoenzymatic perspective. The soil in CS was mainly characterized by oxidant conditions, higher content of overall microbial activity, low levels of easily available phosphorus for vegetation, and medium total carbon content ranging from 25.0% to 30.7%. In PCS, the levels of total carbon and the content of bioavailable P were higher, while the oxidant conditions were lower compared to the other systems. As expected, the soils in CWS and NWS were characterized by the most reduced conditions and by the highest levels of arylsulphatase activity. It was noteworthy that soils in the NWS systems were characterized by the highest level of nonavailable P. Outputs from ecoenzymatic activity confirmed the physico-chemical and biochemical results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Degradation Prevention and Restoration at Farm and Field Scale)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Effective Microorganisms (EM) Application on the Physical Condition of Haplic Luvisol
Agronomy 2020, 10(7), 1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10071049 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The study set out to determine changes in the soil air-water properties, the water-stable aggregate share and organic carbon content as effects of a five-year application of effective microorganisms (EM-A). The hypothesis that long-term applied EM-A biopreparations have a positive effect on the [...] Read more.
The study set out to determine changes in the soil air-water properties, the water-stable aggregate share and organic carbon content as effects of a five-year application of effective microorganisms (EM-A). The hypothesis that long-term applied EM-A biopreparations have a positive effect on the soil physical condition has not been confirmed. Haplic Luvisols originating from silt were studied in a field experiment after EM-A biopreparation treatment. The soil samples with the natural structure preserved intact were collected three times each year. The properties of the soil determined in the study were: particle density, total organic carbon content, bulk density, total porosity, air capacity, air permeability, soil moisture at sampling, field water capacity, available water content, unavailable water content, and water-stable aggregate content. The ratio of field water capacity and total porosity (FC/TP) was calculated. It was found that EM-A application primarily leads to a decrease in the content of organic carbon and water-stable aggregates. This was an adverse effect. Total organic carbon (TOC) and water-stable aggregates proved to be very sensitive indicators for assessing the soil physical condition. However, changes in soil compaction and air–water properties did not show significant deterioration. Our research addresses the data gaps about EM application to soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Degradation Prevention and Restoration at Farm and Field Scale)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Introduction of Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L.) in a Rainfed Rotation to Improve Soil Organic Carbon Stock in Marginal Lands
Agronomy 2020, 10(7), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10070946 - 01 Jul 2020
Abstract
The production of a biomass as a feedstock for biorefinery is gaining attention in many agricultural areas. The adoption of biorefinery crops (i.e., perennial cardoon) can represent an interesting option for farmers and can contribute to increase soil organic carbon stock (SOCS). The [...] Read more.
The production of a biomass as a feedstock for biorefinery is gaining attention in many agricultural areas. The adoption of biorefinery crops (i.e., perennial cardoon) can represent an interesting option for farmers and can contribute to increase soil organic carbon stock (SOCS). The study aimed to assess the potential effect on long-term SOCS change by the introduction of cardoon in a Mediterranean marginal area (Sassari, Italy). To this end, three process-oriented models, namely the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories (Tier 2), a humus-balance model (SOMBIT) and Rothamsted carbon model (RothC), were used to compare two scenarios over 20 years. The traditional cropping system’s faba bean–durum wheat biennial rotation was compared with the same scenario alternating seven years of cardoon cultivation. The model’s calibration was performed using climate, soil and crop data measured in three cardoon trials between 2011 and 2019. SOMBIT and Roth C models showed the best values of model performance metrics. By the insertion of cardoon, IPCC tool, SOMBIT and RothC models predicted an average annual SOCS increase, whereas, in the baseline scenario, the models predicted a steady state or a slight SOCS decrease. This increase can be attributed to a higher input of above- and belowground plant residues and a lower number of bare soil days (41 vs. 146 days year−1). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Degradation Prevention and Restoration at Farm and Field Scale)
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