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2007 Soil and Water Conservation Society - Soil Quality Workshop

"Soil Quality: the Foundation for Natural Resource Quality"


Alan Franzluebbers
USDA-ARS, Watkinsville, GA

Soil quality is a concept based on the premise that management can deteriorate, stabilize, or improve soil ecosystem functions. Soil organic matter is a key component of soil quality that sustains many important soil functions by providing the energy, substrates, and biological diversity to support biological activity, which affects (1) aggregation (important for habitat space, oxygen supply, and preventing soil erosion), infiltration (important for leaching, runoff, and crop water uptake), and decomposition (important for nutrient cycling and detoxification of amendments). Soil can directly impact air quality, most visibly during wind erosion that transports fine particles into the atmosphere as dust. The detrimental effect of dust (or particulate matter) on human health is well documented. More subtly, soil can also impact air quality through the emission of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, CH4, and N2O. These gases on a global scale can be linked to changing climate, which could greatly impact civilization. This presentation will explore the linkages between soil and air quality and how conservation management approaches can help improve both soil and air quality.

Alan Franzluebbers - Alan Franzluebbers is an Ecologist at the USDA-ARS J. Phil Campbell, Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center in Watkinsville, Georgia. Alan is investigating sustainable crop and animal production systems suitable for the southeast. He focuses on soil organic matter and nutrient cycling in tall fescue pasture systems.