Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a major indicator of soil health. Globally, soil contains approximately 2344 Gt of organic carbon (OC), which is the largest terrestrial pool of OC. Through plant growth, soil health is connected with the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems. Provides ecosystem services which include climate regulation, water supplies and regulation, nutrient cycling, erosion protection and enhancement of biodiversity. Global increase in land use change from natural vegetation to agricultural land has been documented as a result of intensification of agricultural practices in response to an increasing human population. Consequently, these changes have resulted in depletion of SOC stock, thereby negatively affecting agricultural productivity and provision of ecosystem services. This necessitates the need to consider technological options that promote retention of SOC stocks. Options to enhance SOC include; no-tillage/conservation agriculture, irrigation, increasing below-ground inputs, organic amendments, and integrated, and diverse cropping/farming systems. In addition, land use conversion from cropland to its natural vegetation improves soil C stocks, highlighting the importance of increasing agricultural production per unit land instead of expanding agricultural land to natural areas.
Part of the book: Environmental Health