Soil Conservation and Fertility Management

Soil Conservation and Fertility Management
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Soil Conservation and Fertility Management

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Publisher: Agrobios Publications
ISBN: 9788177543650
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PREFACE
Soil and water are the basic resources of the country and must be conserved as carefully as possible. The pressure of increasing population neutralizes all efforts to raise the standard of living and nutrition, while loss of efficiency in the soil itself nullifies the value of any improvements made. The present position is very serious, all experts agree. It is well known to every farmer that it is the topsoil layer which sustains agricultural production and once this layer is lost or destroyed, nothing can ever replace it. In the words of Lord John Boyd Orr, the first Director-General of FAO in 1948, Increases in agricultural production are possible through modern methods. But, these advances in science will be useless, unless there is enough good land for farming. If the soil on which all agriculture and all human life depend is wasted away then the battle to free mankind from want can not be won . To feed the world s population in the year 2010, agriculture production has to be increased by 60 per cent and this was expected to come from an intensification of agriculture on lands already under cultivation. In addition, FAO experts that an additional 600 million hectares FAO, 1979 of cultivated lands would be required to meet the additional food demands. An uncertainty in these estimates is the amount of land, being lost through degradation. Total historic loss of land through soil degradation is put at 2 billion hectares, the present arable area of the world being about 1.5 billion hectares. Kovda 1977 has put the annual loss of productive land at 5-7 million hectares. In India, out of 328 million hectares of geographical area, 68 million hectares are critically degraded while 107 million hectares are severely eroded Anonymous, 1982 . We increasingly face ecological and environmental problems as a result of injudicious use of fertilizers and other chemicals pesticides, herbicides etc. in intensive agriculture. The deteriorating soil and water quality, and the raising agrochemical toxicity in farming are serious concerns. All these factors jeopardize efforts to sustain growth in food production. The big questions before us are Can we sustain high productivity with deterioration of soil and water environment Most of the additional food grain production must come from irrigated and potential rainfed lands. We need to use more complex technologies and management practices to further intensify crop
production systems and to conserve resource base from which all food is produced. The immense task before us is How to orient our research to generate innovative technologies . Plants like human being, animals, birds and other living organisms need energy for their survival and proper functioning. Unlike other living organisms, they use to manufacture their food through conversion of solar energy into chemical energy vide process called as photosynthesis. The photosynthates, thus synthesized, are partly consumed by plants for their growth and development till their active vegetative growth and rest is accumulated which we harvest. The entire process is regulated by various elements which are known as plant food elements. The list of such elements, is gradually enlarged with the advancement of physiological and biochemical knowledge. These elements, though present in soil yet the quantity being so meager need to be supplemented through their respective carriers called as fertilizers. Role of fertilizers in boosting agricultural production has already been proved and they have become so essential that the cultivation of present day plant types without them is rather a dream. There has been ever increasing trend in fertilizer consumption starting from negligible quantity in 1950 to over 13 million tones of nutrients or over 28 million tones of fertilizer materials in 199293. Concern about environmental safety and sustainability of land productivity is increasing among scientists, administrators and environmentalists. With increasing population, it is also becoming clear the food security to the teeming millions will not be possible unless the available resources are efficiently utilized for increasing the productivity. The strategy adopted during the green revolution era can not be valid anymore under the prevailing conditions. A new strategy of living with the nature and nurturing it for sustainable high productivity should be evolved. Though use of